Hayden Most high school basketball games consist of four quarters, but the Hayden girls needed only one Tuesday night to slam the door shut on Plateau Valley's season.
The Tigers scored 27 points in the third quarter en route to blowing out Plateau Valley 80-57 in the district pigtail game in Hayden.
The Tigers (7-13, 1-7) will advance to the district tournament this weekend where they will face top-seeded North Park (19-0, 8-0) in Walden. That game will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We just need to go and play as hard as we can," Hayden sophomore Whitney Bell said. "Hopefully, we can put up a big fight."
Bell finished Tuesday's game with 16 points, including several key 3-pointers. Kayla Kostur led the Tigers with 22 points and Adriana Svoboda added 15. Alycia Boyd also chipped in 13.
"Our scoring was real balanced tonight," coach Randy McDonald said after the game. "That's nice to see."
Hayden led the playoff contest from start to finish. Despite a sluggish start, the Tigers took a 14-4 lead in the first quarter of the contest. Plateau Valley's offense was absent for most of the quarter as the Cowboys netted just one field goal and four points in the opening quarter.
Plateau Valley junior Ashley Lawton netted the Cowboys' first point on a free throw with 1 minute, 49 seconds left in the period.
In the second quarter, however, Plateau Valley came to life.
Junior Janessa York led the Cowboys with 19 points in the game. Kalli Bartley added 17 and Lawton finished with 14. Most of those points came in the second-quarter rally when the Cowboys pulled to within four points of the hometown Tigers. A Bell 3-pointer gave the Tigers a seven-point cushion at the half, but the message had been sent.
"They made a big run in the second quarter, so we wanted to come out in the second half and put it to them fast -- and we did it," Kostur said.
The third-quarter flurry extended the Tigers' lead to 54-35 and seemed to take the wind out of the visiting Cowboys. Plateau Valley never recovered as the Tigers added 26 more and cruised to the win.
"It wasn't happening the whole first half," Svoboda said of the Tigers' offense. "We had a lot of missed shots and the ball wasn't falling for us."
Plateau Valley used a full-court press and trap in the second quarter to disrupt Hayden's offense. But in the second the Tigers used the long pass to break the press and spark the offense.
"I think we started to put our heads up and we started to look down court for the wide-open people," Svoboda said.
The Tigers coach was happy with the way his team performed in the game and responded in the second half.
"I think we were rushing our shots a bit in the first half," McDonald said. "But I was happy with the way we rebounded."
McDonald said his team has nothing to lose in Saturday's game at Walden and thinks his players can run with the powerful Wildcat team.
"Nobody expects us to beat North Park," McDonald said. "They are a great team, but we will just have to go out there and play our best. We will see what happens."