Track and field
A parent-athlete meeting for all interested high school track and field participants is at 6 p.m. Monday in the Hayden High School Videoconference Room. Practice begins after school March 5.
No one said the Hayden boys basketball team would have it easy.
The Tigers were in a three-way tie for last place in the eight-team Class 2A District 5 standings after ending their season with a Feb. 13 win against the Little Snake River Rattlers (Baggs, Wyo.). Their record was 5-12 overall and 2-6 in district play.
The Tigers were given a No. 6 seed in the District 5 Tournament that began Saturday in Collbran, and they were matched against a talented No. 3 seed - Plateau Valley. Plateau Valley beat Hayden, 55-27, in a Jan. 27 meeting.
But with a little last-minute magic, the Tigers pulled off an improbable 31-30 win and eliminated Plateau Valley from postseason play.
"The defensive intensity was the best it's been all season," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said.
Although the Tigers exploited key defensive match-ups and forced the Cowboys to take low-percentage shots, they couldn't muster much offense. Plateau Valley led, 10-5, at the half.
Baumgartner said Hayden continued to stay in the game by "shutting (Plateau Valley) down and frustrating them, defensively keeping the game close."
Still, Hayden was faced with a seven-point deficit with 56 seconds left in the game.
Bryan Richards took the ball straight to the hole, was fouled and converted the three-point play.
On the Cowboys' ensuing possession, Hayden's Chuck Hines jumped a passing lane, made a steal and found Jordan Williams for an open jumper to cut the lead to two.
Then, Plateau Valley knocked an offensive rebound out of bounds, and Williams struck again by nailing a 3-pointer with six seconds on the clock to put Hayden on top for good.
Richards led the Tigers with 16 points.
"I think they were shocked," Baumgartner said. "That's huge to win the first district game, especially to hold them at their place."
The win matches Hayden against No. 2 seed Grand Valley (17-3 overall) at 8 p.m. Friday at Plateau Valley.
"It proves we have the defensive capability to shut opponents down - we need that same attitude," said Baumgartner, who was pleased with his team's progress during the past month. The Tigers won three of their last five games after a 10-game skid. "Hopefully we can take it into districts, keep the game close and give ourselves a chance in the end."