Creativity is good in art and basketball, and Hayden girls basketball coach Jayme Adams is beginning to see the Tigers adapt and adjust to opposing defenses before her eyes.
"They are clicking," she said after Hayden's 43-33 win against Rangely on Friday. "They are just peaking at the right time. In practice on (Thursday), I was, like, 'wow.'"
Despite an unimpressive 5-13 overall record, Hayden wrapped up the Western Slope League season with a 4-4 record and is playing the best basketball of its season at the right time.
"We've stepped it up," junior Alycia Boyd said.
At several different times throughout Friday's game, the Tigers seemed ready to break it open, but the Panthers did a good job of drawing contact and getting to the foul line to stay within striking distance.
Hayden built a four-point halftime lead to nine by the end of the third quarter. Neither team got much going offensively at the outset of the fourth. Rangely's Shelby Sheridan scored off an offensive rebound two minutes into the fourth, but Hayden senior Millie Hellyer answered with a short jumper less than a minute later.
With one minute, 30 seconds left, the Tigers found themselves up by just six when Brook MacIntosh scored on another Panthers offensive rebound.
But then Boyd, with the help of her guards, took over down low, scoring the game's final four points to give the Tigers the 10-point win.
Eight different players scored for Hayden, led by Boyd's 10 points and junior Whitney Bell's eight. Three other Tigers players had six points. Boyd also had eight rebounds, and post partner junior Jamie Waugh, all 5-foot-6 of her, grabbed seven rebounds.
Boyd said Waugh has been a great addition to Hayden's team this season. Waugh moved to Colorado from Wyoming this season.
"We just have this connection," Boyd said.
MacIntosh scored 14 points for the Panthers, while teammate Cassie Fuller added 12 points. No other Panthers player scored more than three.
Hayden wraps up the regular season with a 4 p.m. game today at West Grand. The Tigers defeated the Mustangs earlier this season in the league game. Today's matchup is nonleague.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org