Chris Frentress calls it concentration with a little bit of luck. Whatever it was, Frentress was perfect in the fourth quarter of Hayden's 60-55 victory over the West Grand Mustangs.
Frentress sank eight of eight free throws in the fourth quarter. Like his teammates, he said desire also was a factor.
"They used to try to score a hundred points on us," Frentress said, "so we really wanted to win this one."
The Tigers didn't show the desire starting out, though. Jared Alpe scored four quick points, and then the Tigers slumped, failing to get the ball back inside for a high percentage of shots.
West Grand maintained a three-point lead from the first quarter to halftime, with a lot of help from star point guard Tyler Terryberry, who scored 10 points in both halves.
"He's pretty quick," said Frentress who, along with Cam Whiteman, guarded Terryberry. "We really had to focus on guarding him. He's one of the best guards in the league."
Whiteman managed to control Terryberry and disrupt the Mustangs' offense throughout the game. Whiteman had three steals in the third quarter and was often on the floor, diving after loose balls.
"Cam's our defensive guy," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "Whenever we need a stop, he's our go-to guy."
Hayden's offense began to pick up in the second half, when the Tigers got more patient with their shots and began to get more comfortable, Baumgartner said.
Fists began pumping and faces began smiling when Hayden's offensive go-to guy, Evan Hilling, sank two consecutive 3-pointers, hitting nothing but net.
Hayden's Keenan Bruchez also got a hot hand, scoring eight points in the paint in the second half.
The Tigers began to pull away when Hilling dropped another 3-pointer in the fourth, and then Frentress went on his free-throw scoring spree.
"They always came out and beat us by 40 or 50 points," Hilling said. "This year, it felt so nice to come out and beat them."
West Grand coach Leo Pesch said patience sets Hayden apart from any other team in the league.
"They're a great team," Pesch said. "Their coach has done a great job with this team, and they deserved to win."
The Tigers walked off the court with a standing ovation from the crowd. The victory brings their season record to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in league play.
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