Western Slope League play doesn't begin until January, and that may be good news for the Hayden High School boys basketball team.
"We have a great group of kids," Tigers coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "They are real coachable. It's just a matter of us getting back into a rhythm. It will probably take us until Christmas to get going, and that's fine."
Senior Keenan Bruchez is the lone returning starter for the Tigers, but seniors Tyson Letlow and Tyson Sweetser saw significant playing time last year. Bruchez is nearly 6-foot-4, and Letlow and Sweetser are taller than 6 feet, giving Hayden some options inside.
"For our league, we will be a pretty big team," Baumgartner said. "We didn't introduce a different offense, but I think we emphasized different things out of our offense. We are looking to get the ball into our post a little bit more and penetrate more."
Hayden has to replace its primary ball handlers and will look to Kyle Woodley and Kenneth Henry to fill that void. Dave Gullett and Bryan Richards figure to see significant time, as well, as the Tigers seek to replace Evan Hilling, last year's leading scorer.
"Bryan is a good slasher," Baumgartner said. "He's going to be that small forward. He can shoot the ball and handle the ball. We can post him up like we did Evan."