Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Hayden boys basketball coach Shawn Baumgartner will be counting on senior leadership to lead the Tigers in the upcoming season.
Luckily, he will have plenty of it.
Four of the team's five starters this season will be seniors and three of those four have been starters since their freshman year. The only starter who's not a senior, 6-foot-4 junior center Keenan Bruchez, already has proven himself as a leader on the football field this year.
The Tigers will open the season with two games at home. At 6 p.m. Friday, the Tigers will face Baggs, Wyo., and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday they will face Grand Valley. Fans who bring a can of food to the games Friday or Saturday night will get $1 off the price of admission.
"Our senior leadership is the real strength of this team," Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner has watched the team improve slowly during the past three years. His first season, the Tigers finished 4-17, a slight improvement over the season before he started when the team was 0-19.
Last year, the team made some big steps and finished the season with a 12-8 record. The only downside was that the Tigers lost to Meeker in the first round of the district playoffs.
Although Baumgartner hesitated to make any predictions about his team's future success, he said it was a team goal to advance further into the district playoffs this season.
Baumgartner expects seniors Evan Hilling, a 6-foot-2 forward, Chris Frentress, a 6-foot shooting guard, Cam Whiteman, a 5-foot-11 point guard, Bruchez and Levi Sheldon, a 6-foot-3 forward, to start Friday night.
The coach will be looking for juniors Tyson Letlow, Tyson Sweetser, Kyle Woodley and Kenneth Henry to come off the bench this season, along with sophomore Bryan Richards.
Baumgartner expects the Tigers to be competitive with teams from Rangely, Meeker, Grand Valley and Paonia.
"It's going to be a tough league again this year," Baumgartner.
The coach said the team will focus on playing tough team defense and staying patient on offense. It's a combination that worked in the 2003-04 season and one the coach thinks could provide success again this season.
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