Hayden girls fall in districts

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— It was just one of those nights.

It went good, really bad, good and good.

While the Hayden Tigers kept up with host Plateau Valley and played well for three quarters Friday night, it was the one lousy quarter that stopped the Tigers - and six seniors - from advancing to the finals of the District 5 tournament.

In the first, third and fourth quarters of Hayden's 75-53 loss, the Tigers played with the Cowboys - the District's No. 1 seed - for most of the night.

But in the second quarter, Hayden looked lost, continually turned the ball over and battled through foul trouble.

In the quarter, Hayden was outscored, 33-14.

"In the second quarter, they just got ahead of us," senior Jessica Martin said. "We couldn't do our press break even though we practiced it all week."

Hayden started off quick, scoring the first four points before Plateau Valley was able to even it to four with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left in the quarter.

Unfortunately Hayden's main threat inside, Emily Whiteman, picked up her second foul with 4:42 left in the first quarter. Before Whiteman left the game, she had scored nine of her team's 11 first-quarter points.

"She is an athlete," Cowboys coach Toni Gunther said of Whiteman. "We knew she would be a force on the inside."

Hayden was able to withstand the foul trouble and trailed only 12-11 after the first quarter.

Then, just 11 seconds into the second quarter, Whiteman picked up her third foul and sat out the rest of the quarter.

Jacquelyn Denker tied the score at 13 with 7:29 left in the second quarter, before the Plateau Valley press started to stifle Hayden.

In a 31-second span, the Cowboys created three consecutive turnovers and turned a tie game into a 19-13 lead.

Hayden battled back, closing within two at 21-19 after a Kylee Sweetser jumper, but Plateau Valley - thanks in large part to forcing 17 second quarter turnovers - finished the last 4:48 of the second quarter on a 24-6 run.

"I think we had a lot of early jitters," Toni Gunther said. "In that second period we kind of settled down."

In the second half, Hayden played with Plateau Valley - only losing the third and fourth quarters, 30-28 - but the damage from the second quarter already was done.

"It hurts because this is the closest group out of all the years," Martin said. "We really didn't want to let each other down."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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