Tigers set sights on nemesis

Hayden eyes rematch with Grand Valley

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— After a 54-35 win against West Grand on Saturday, the Hayden High School boys basketball team will get another crack at Grand Valley, the team that handed the Tigers three of their five losses this season.

The win allowed Hayden to advance to this weekend's district tournament, where it will play Grand Valley, which defeated Coal Ridge, 84-48, on Saturday. Tip-off between Grand Valley and Hayden is at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Soroco High School in Oak Creek.

"I wanted another chance at Grand Valley," Tigers coach Shawn Baumgartner said.

The Cardinals feature two of the best players in the league in Sam McKinley and Dylan Culver. The Tigers struggled to stop both this season.

"They run a lot of special plays to them," Baumgartner said. "They also create their own shot. They will take a little jab step and step back, and if you give them a foot, they will hit the 3."

Hayden, on the other hand, has struggled to hit an open shot in the teams' three previous meetings.

"You have to give Grand Valley some of the credit," Baumgartner said. "They play great defense. They are up in your face. We can't settle for the good shot. We have to hit the great shot. It will take some discipline, which we will work on this week."

The Tigers got the chance for the rematch after handily defeating the Mustangs at home Saturday.

Senior Keenan Bruchez put up 23 points in three quarters of play. The 6-foot-4 post player missed most of the first quarter after rolling his ankle. Bruchez said after the game that his ankle was fine -- he just had it taped so it wouldn't be injured more.

Bruchez got two of his points late in the fourth quarter on a powerful dunk over West Grand's Tyler Music. Baumgartner said Bruchez made a great move on the baseline and went up without hesitation.

"It's always fun to dunk," Bruchez said.

Hayden also got 12 points from junior Bryan Richards and 10 points from sophomore Jordan Williams.

Hayden played without senior Tyson Sweetser, who injured his ankle last week against Meeker. Baumgartner said he expects Sweetser back Friday.

"Tyson is practicing," Baum--gartner said. "It was one of those no-reason-to-play-them-unless-you-have-to things."

Soroco, which is out of the district tournament, was selected as the site, so Hayden won't have to travel far this weekend. The winner of Friday's game will face the winner of the Paonia-Meeker game, which tips off at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

-- Craig Daily Press reporter Brandon Johansson contributed to this story

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