Hayden The scoreboard may not show progress, but as long as the Hayden boys basketball team sees it on the court and in practice, the team is pleased to push forward.
Meeker's 60-32 win Friday served as a perfect example.
The Tigers played the Cowboys even in two quarters as both teams scored seven in the second and 10 in the fourth. It was the other two that bit Hayden pretty hard, but it was more a case of what Meeker did than what Hayden didn't do.
The Cowboys executed their offense to near perfection and played a tight man defense that had a relatively inexperienced Tigers squad flustered for most of the night.
"Defensively, they came out aggressive and we couldn't get into the offense," coach Shawn Baumgartner said.
And the Tigers' offense thrives on working the ball around, making the other team's defense try to prevent a great open shot.
Hayden didn't find many open looks Friday night.
Sophomore Evan Hilling led the Tigers with 11 points, while sophomore Cam Whiteman contributed eight off the bench.
Hilling was the Tigers' only perimeter shooter that found any room to fire in the first and second quarters, but that was quickly eliminated as the Cowboys made adjustments at the half to shut him down in the third.
Leading 24-13 at the half, Meeker came out in the third quarter and put the game away, building as much as a 28-point lead off senior Chris Viscardi's three-quarter-length bank shot 3-pointer to end the third.
The positives for Hayden came in the fourth, however, when mainly sophomores for both teams were in the game. The Tigers and Cowboys each scored 10 points in the quarter, but the home team looked visibly more comfortable on the floor.
Whiteman said the young Tigers play ugly at times, but the experience he and his classmates and teammates are gaining at the varsity level will eventually pay dividends down the road.
"We can see that," he said. "We only have two seniors, and we were running with them OK in the fourth. We've been seeing it happen. People in the stands can see it, too."
Baumgartner said his team's one-point loss to Moffat County's JV on Tuesday gave him reason to smile. Earlier in the year, Hayden lost by 20 to the same team.
On Tuesday, it took a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left for the Bulldogs to defeat the Tigers.
"I don't know how long it's been since our last heartbreaking loss," he said. "Wednesday they came back intense and that shows me our attitude is really good. The young guys are playing well right now. It's just tough to look at the scoreboard and see it."