Steamboat Springs With 29 days in between games, Hayden High School girls basketball coach Stephanie Davis was rightfully guarded.
Those reservations, however, quickly went away after Hayden dismantled West Grand, 62-39, on Friday night.
"In this league, a win is big" Davis said. "Coming off the break, I was really proud of them. I was proud of the whole team effort."
While the extended break certainly showed its effect at times - Hayden committed 31 fouls and turned the ball over 26 times - Hayden looked liked a team itching to play.
The Tigers never trailed in the game, led by as many as 25 points and cruised to their first league win of the year.
"I was proud even when things weren't going our way, we kept methodically pulling away," Davis said. "We just kept after it."
After taking a 12-6 lead out of the first quarter, Hayden used the second quarter to break the game open.
Led by two Kylee Sweetser 3-pointers and six points from sophomore Rachael Koehler, Hayden turned a five-point lead into a 13-point cushion in less than four minutes.
With the score at 13-8 with 7 minutes, 6 seconds left in the first half, Hayden went on a 12-4 run to take a 25-12 lead with 3:34 to go.
In the second quarter, the Tigers held the Mustangs to 5-of-17 shooting from the field.
"We were a little rusty," said junior Holli Salazar, who had a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds. "It was just getting back into things. It's starting to go well for us."
In the last two quarters, Hayden continued to pull away behind its defense and Salazar's work on the inside.
Hayden forced West Grand to 25 percent shooting from the field and created 31 turnovers, while Salazar scored 13 of her points in the second half.
"I thought our defensive effort in the first half was not good," said Davis, whose team created 18 second-half turnovers. "After half, we played better, and our defensive habits were better."
Sweetser chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, while Koehler (10 points), Caitlin Mahanna (eight points) and Elaine Cromie (seven points) all helped the Hayden cause.
Hayden (6-2 overall, 1-0 in league play) travels to Meeker today for a 4 p.m. contest.