Hayden squad maturing quickly


Girls basketball

2007-08 Hayden High School regular season schedule

Time TBA Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at Meeker Cowboy Shootout

5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Baggs

7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Rangely

2:30 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. North Park

4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Steamboat JV-C

7 p.m. Dec. 20 vs. Soroco

4:30 p.m. Jan. 10 vs. Steamboat JV-C

6 p.m. Jan. 18 vs. West Grand

4 p.m. Jan. 19 at Meeker

5:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at North Park

5 p.m. Feb. 1 at Paonia

4 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Plateau Valley

6 p.m. Feb. 8 at Soroco

2:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at West Grand

5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 vs. Baggs

7 p.m. Feb. 15 vs. Grand Valley

6 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Rangely

Feb. 29 to March 1 Districts at Paonia

— Hayden High School girls basketball coach Stephanie Davis isn't too concerned with the turnover she's seen since last season. Last year's Hayden squad, led by a core of seven tight-knit seniors, upset Grand Valley in the district tournament quarterfinals only to be ousted by the No. 1 seed and state-tournament qualifier Plateau Valley.

This year, Davis feels confident replenishing her varsity ranks with players who learned to win last season at the junior varsity level.

"We're only returning two starters, but the rest are coming from a JV team with only two losses," Davis said.

The team's one and only senior will be Kirsten Miller, who played in a backup lineman role as the only female player on the Tigers football squad that recently made a run to the state semifinals.

Although the team only returns two starters from last season, those two, juniors Holli Salazar and Kylee Sweetser, present a talented tandem that brings to the court, respectively, one of Class 2A Western Slope League's toughest presences in the paint and what Davis called "one of the league's top scorers for the last two seasons."

Davis said that Sweetser's play on the perimeter as a small forward would be complemented well by solid post play from Salazar and junior Elaine Cromie. Still, Davis said the strength of the team will lie in its defense. Creating turnovers shouldn't be a problem for a group that's heavy on scrappy guards with quick feet and capable ball handling ability.

"I think it will be a good season," said junior Caitlyn Mahanna, one of these scrappy ball handlers ready to take the floor when Hayden opens play tonight against Mancos at the three-day Meeker Cowboy Shootout. "We've got some speed."

Davis also thinks that what this team has got is another important factor working in its favor - that intangible drive and commitment to the sport.

"With our summer program, I had 20 girls participating, playing 20 games in June," Davis said. "This group loves basketball, and I'm excited about the direction basketball's headed."


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