Led by strong play from its forwards, the Hayden High School boys basketball team kicked off the season with a 45-41 win against Rangely on Friday.
The Tigers were led by senior forwards Dave Gullett and Bryan Richards who each scored 11 points. Junior guard Jordan Williams had 10 points, while Zach Barnes had eight and Chuck Hines chipped in five.
The teams were tied at 20 heading into the third quarter, before the Tigers opened up a 13-point lead. In the fourth quarter, Hayden struggled with Rangely's full-court press but had built up enough of a lead to hang on for the win.
"Yeah we're happy to get the win," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "It was good for the first game, but we see some things we really need to work on to be competitive in the league."
On the girls side, the Tigers played three games at the Meeker Tournament, winning one and losing two.
On Thursday, Hayden downed league foe Grand Valley, 52-46, before falling on Friday to Dolores, 54-46, and to Meeker, 66-41, on Saturday.
Senior Emily Whiteman led the Tigers against Grand Valley with 16 points.
Hayden girls coach Stephanie Davis said against Grand Valley the Tigers did a good job of breaking the press and getting easy buckets in transition.
Unfortunately, Davis said, against Dolores and Meeker the Tigers looked like a completely different team.
Davis said Hayden was marred by turnovers and sloppy defense in the final two games.
"It's nothing we can't fix," Davis said. "We had a ton of turnovers and that didn't help us. We played hard but we didn't play smart."
Katy Koehler led Hayden against Dolores with 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Kylee Sweetser paced the Tigers against Meeker with 10 points.
The tournament gave Davis a good look at the competition Hayden will see in District 5. With league opponents Grand Valley, Meeker, North Park and Rangely all at the tournament, Davis said she feels confident her team can play with anyone.
"There were a good caliber of teams there," Davis said. "I think if we make some corrections we'll be competitive" in the league.
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