Holli Salazar tries to wrestle a rebound away from a pair of Rangely players Saturday as the Tigers beat up on the Panthers, 62-44. Salazar scored 6 points in the first quarter and 9 in the fourth to lead the way as Hayden improved to 6-0.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Holli Salazar tries to wrestle a rebound away from a pair of Rangely players Saturday as the Tigers beat up on the Panthers, 62-44. Salazar scored 6 points in the first quarter and 9 in the fourth to lead the way as Hayden improved to 6-0.

Hayden rolls past Rangely

Big 4th quarter helps Tigers overcome Panthers rally

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Hayden girls basketball, 2008-09

Game statistics

Hayden 62, Rangely 44

1 2 3 4 Final

Rangely 6 17 19 3 - 44

Hayden 19 8 17 18 - 62

Individual Statistics

Rangely - Hays 1 3-4 5, Wanstedt 2 0-1 4, Phelan 6 2-4 4, Hogan 0 1-3 1, Morton 2 3-8 7, Piering 3 1-4 7, Slagle 3 0-0 6. Totals 17 11-22 44.

Hayden - Rolando 2 4-4 8, R.Koehler 4 2-2 10, Salazar 9 5-8 23, Woodley 0 5-6 5, Cromie 1 1-2 3, E.Koehler 1 0-0 2, Mahanna 2 3-4 7, Sweetser 1 0-0 2, Vedepo 0 0-2 0, Ehlers 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 20-28 62.

— Hayden girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton, at first, said he was never worried.

"I had confidence in them," he said about his team, victorious Saturday with a 62-44 win against Rangely.

He wasn't at all worried when the team took a 19-6 first-quarter lead. He wasn't worried when they gave literally all of it back by the third quarter. However, he finally changed his tune when the issue of fouls came up. Three of his best players - seniors Caitlin Mahanna and Holli Salazar and junior Rachael Koehler - all were in deep trouble.

"Well, when we got in foul trouble, that was a little scary," he said.

His initial gut instinct would prove to be the most accurate. It seemed impossible Hayden would lose after an incredible first quarter, and it seemed equally impossible that the team would win handily after ultra-competitive middle of the game.

They dominated again in the fourth, however, and rolled over Rangely.

"Rangely made a heck of a run there, but I'm proud of the way our girls hung in there and played tough," Hamilton said. "Rangely's a good team, and we had to play very tough in the second half to win."

The two sides of the Tigers stood in stark contrast.

The aggressive full-court defense the team has used to such great effect early this season helped Hayden to the giant early lead.

Salazar led the team with 23 points and had six of them in the first quarter. Koehler added six of her own, and sophomore Kyra Rolando added six more.

"It was our defense that set it up," Salazar said. "Later, there were a lot of stupid fouls, and we attempted passes that weren't there."

The tables turned in the second and third quarters.

Hayden was outscored by nine in the second, as Rangely's trapping defense began to take a toll.

The Tigers turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions late in the period, and the Panthers actually took a 1-point lead early in the third quarter.

"We were doing a good job frustrating them," Rangely coach Jimmie Mergelmar said. "We got them in foul trouble, which helped, but in the end we weren't able to convert on that."

Rangely was effective offensively and defensively in its resurgence, but couldn't sustain that drive.

Hayden again turned to its press and a fast-break attack. The Tigers didn't surrender a basket for the first six minutes of the period. With Koehler fouled out and Mahanna hanging on with four fouls, Salazar took over, driving for a series of layups that put the game away.

"This is a focused bunch of girls," Hamilton said. "I'm proud of all of them. They really handled Rangely well, hung in there and fought it out."

- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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