Hayden boys, girls win season openers

Barnes sends game to OT, then wins it

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Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

Hayden girls basketball, 2008-09

Hayden High School boys basketball player Zach Barnes will have to find a way to get nervous before every game.

Barnes scored a tip-in basket with 2.1 seconds to go to send Tuesday's season-opener into overtime before recording the game-wining putback with 1.8 seconds left to give Hayden a 53-51 win against Vail Christian.

"I had butterflies all over," said Barnes, who finished with 10 points. "Coach told us go for every rebound, and it turned out right."

For the better part of three-and-a-half quarters, however, it looked like the visiting Saints would take the game.

Vail Christian led for the entire first half and took a 26-22 lead into the third quarter. Hayden tied the game at 30 with 5 minutes and 8 seconds left in the third quarter, but Vail Christian responded with a 12-7 run to close out the quarter and head into the final frame with a 42-37 lead.

That lead jumped to 45-37 with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter before Hayden began to chip away.

Murphy Smartt's bucket at the 3:37 mark cut the lead to 45-41. Barnes added a bucket a minute later to trim the lead to 45-43.

After Vail Christian's Elliot Ristow missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Hayden took possession of the ball with 13 seconds left. Smartt missed a shot, but Barnes tipped in the rebound to send the game to overtime.

"That's one of the things we've been doing a lot of talking about is the attitude," Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. "We're never out of the game. Keep playing and keep playing hard. Keep your head up and keep going. We did and excellent job of that."

Hayden jumped out to a quick 50-45 lead in overtime. But the Tigers went 1 of 3 from the free throw line in the final minute to give the Saints a chance. Vail Christian's Will Parker tied the game at 51 with 14 seconds left. It was then Barnes' time to shine, grabbing another offensive rebound and scoring the winning basket on the put back.

"It's wonderful," said Luppes, who got his first win as Hayden's coach. "We've been ready for a game. It's been a while. Starting off with a win is pretty satisfying."

In earlier action, the Hayden girls basketball team easily beat Vail Christian, 54-23. Tigers senior Holli Salazar led the way with 14 points, including seven in the first quarter. Kyra Rolando and Kylie Harris each added six points.

Hayden jumped out to a 32-12 first-half lead and never looked back. In the game, the Tigers had 10 players score.

The Hayden boys play at 6:30 p.m. Friday at home against Rangely. The girls travel to the Meeker Tournament on Thursday.

Soroco cruises to 1st win

The Soroco High School boys basketball team opened its season with a 73-53 win against Moffat County's junior varsity squad Tuesday. Senior Ryan Tibbetts led the Rams with 22 points. Cody Miles added 16, Alex Estes hWest Grand Tournament on Friday.

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