Tiger ballers down Wildcats

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Foul trouble limited Keenan Bruchez and Bryan Richards, but it did not stop the Hayden boys basketball team from picking up a 46-34 win against North Park in Walden on Saturday.

"We started out the game down 8-2," Tigers coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "We were up by 20 at the beginning of the fourth."

The North Park girls basketball team defeated Hayden, 64-33, on Saturday in Walden. The loss drops the Tigers to 3-7 overall and 1-2 in Western Slope League play. Up next for Hayden is a tough two-game stretch at Paonia and versus Plateau Valley. The Tigers play the Eagles at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Paonia. Hayden then hosts Plateau Valley at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hayden High School.

Richards scored 16 first-half points and finished with a team-high 18 points. He was in foul trouble in the second half. Bruchez had just five shot attempts in limited action, but junior Dave Gullett and senior Tyson Sweetser helped the Tigers inside.

"Dave came in and play-ed really well inside," Baumgartner said. "Tyson Sweetser played really well. I thought those two really picked up the slack on the inside."

Sweetser finished with six points and four rebounds. Gullett scored six points and pulled down three rebounds.

"Dave has really stepped it up this year," Baumgartner said. "He's a smart kid and can anticipate where the ball is going. He has some good moves down low, and he finishes."

Senior Tyson Letlow scored eight points, and senior point guard Kyle Woodley had four steals.

Hayden improved to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in the Western Slope League. The Tigers have the toughest road trip of the league season this weekend. Hayden plays Paonia at 7 p.m. Friday and plays Plateau Valley at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Hayden.

"It will be tough to get back at two in the morning and turn around and play at 5:30 the next day," Baumgartner said.

To make matters worse, the Eagles have established themselves as the team to beat in the league this season, averaging more than 70 points a game and defeating Grand Valley during the weekend.

"Paonia runs a lot of pick and rolls to try and free up their guards," Baumgartner said.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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