Hayden near top of league

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Behind an efficient offense and a new defensive press, the Hayden girls basketball team has won five of its past seven games, including two of its past three.

Hayden defeated Paonia, 66-39, on Friday night and turned around to beat Plateau Valley, 46-35, on Saturday.

The Tigers fell to Moffat County's junior varsity, 48-47 in overtime, Tuesday in Craig, but the Bulldogs are a basketball power no matter the age level.

The Tigers are 6-7 overall and remain 3-1 in Western Slope League play.

Last year, Paonia defeated Hayden by 15, meaning the Tigers had a 42-point turnaround between the seasons.

"It was amazing," Hayden coach Jayme Adams said of the Tigers' performance against Paonia. "I've never seen them play like that before. Our shots were just falling everywhere. We were 83 percent from the free-throw line. The cool thing was our points were spread out through the whole team."

Senior Alycia Boyd led the way with 18 points, and junior Mariah Doolin had 11, but six other players scored to lift Hayden to its second-highest offensive output of the season.

Seniors Lauren Branstetter and Whitney Bell each had eight points. Senior Jamie Waugh had seven, and junior Sara Sumerlin scored six points. Sophomore Emily Whiteman had four, and senior Kim Medvesk had two points.

"We've been working a lot on shooting," Adams said. "I think it's starting to come along. They were running the offense and taking the smart shot, not necessarily the first open shot. They are definitely working it around."

Adams also credited assistant Bret Hoover with introducing a new defensive press this season.

"It's working really well," Adams said. "He has helped our program tremendously."

After defeating Paonia at home, Hayden traveled to Plateau Valley on Saturday, winning by 11 in a game that Adams described as "scrappy" more than anything.

"They brought a lot of ball pressure to the court, which we need," Adams said. "The girls stayed calm and composed and finished the game. Plateau Valley is a good team."

Bell and Branstetter each had 13 for the Tigers, and Boyd added 12 inside. Waugh had six, and Sumerlin scored two points. Bell and Branstetter combined to make five 3-pointers.

Hayden's next game is at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Soroco in Hayden. The Tigers defeated the Rams earlier this season in a non-league game. Friday's contest will count in the league standings.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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