Hayden Tigers coach Shawn Baumgartner looked down at the floor with a grim look on his face. His team had just defeated the Soroco Rams by 9 points, but a 16-hour workday had just defeated him.
His Tigers defeated their South Routt rivals with superior teamwork, solid defense and the leadership of Evan Hilling's 15 points.
"We played really well together as a team," Baumgartner said. "I think our defense won the game."
The Tigers established an early lead, with Ryan Bell making a couple of steals and Hilling draining two open 3-pointers to give Hayden an 11-point lead at halftime.
The Rams seemed to have a steady hand in 6-foot-4 center Matt Cartas, who drained seven points quickly in the paint in the first quarter. However, Cartas moved away from the post position after the first quarter, and the Rams struggled from then on with missed lay-ups, air-ball jump shots and poor passing.
"We didn't come into this game ready," Soroco's Jack Means said. "Our shots weren't falling, and a lot of calls weren't going our way. Sometimes it just goes that way."
The Rams did manage a small rally in the third quarter, though. In the end, the Tiger's defense prevailed.
Leaders for the Tigers were Hilling and Dustin Driscoll, who scored nine points. Cartas led the Rams with 15 points.
With the victory, the Tigers improve to 6-2 on the season with no league games played yet. They play their first league game Friday at North Park, who they defeated at home Dec. 20 in a nonleague game.
The Rams lost to Grand Valley on Jan. 9, and with the Hayden loss Tuesday, their record drops to 3-5, 1-1.