Collbran Hayden boys basketball coach Shawn Baumgartner considered Grand Valley the best team in the District heading into the weekend.
On Friday night, the Cardinals did nothing to change his mind.
The Cardinals immediately showed in the 71-41 victory why it is the top team in the District and one of the top teams in the state.
In the first quarter, Grand Valley was relentless.
The Cardinals used a full-court press to shut down anything the Tigers could do.
Grand Valley started the game off on a 12-0 run, and didn't allow Hayden to score until Bryan Richards made a jumper with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter. The Cardinals forced 14 first-quarter turnovers and limited the Tigers to six field goal attempts in the quarter.
By the time the first eight minutes of the game were done, Hayden found itself down, 22-3.
"That's the best team in the league," Baumgartner said. "It wouldn't surprise me if they won it all today. I think both teams from our District are going to do real well in the regionals."
Any nerves Hayden might have had in the first quarter seemed to wear off by the second. The Tigers, behind 12 points from Jordan Williams, cut the Cardinals' lead to 14, at 30-16 midway through. Unfortunately, that would be as close as Hayden would get the rest of the game.
In the last two quarters, Grand Valley held Hayden to 18 points, including just five in the third quarter.
Despite the loss, Bau-
mgartner said he was proud of how his players improved throughout the year.
"The win against Plateau Valley was a huge lift. It made us feel like we accomplished something," he said. "Hopefully, the underclassmen can use that as a springboard into the summer and next season. For the seniors, hopefully that's a win they'll remember."
Williams led the Tigers with 17 points. Richards scored nine points and Zach Barnes added eight.
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