Steamboat Springs Saturday was a sign to Hayden boys basketball coach Robin Lighthizer that his team is improving.
After falling to Meeker by 24 points in an early season tournament, Hayden certainly had its chances in a 63-57 loss.
Led by the play of seniors Jordan Williams and Brad Parrott, Hayden and Meeker battled back-and-forth.
Lighthizer said the Tigers jumped out to an early eight-point lead in the first quarter before Hayden struggled in the second frame.
"We didn't have a real good second quarter," Lighthizer said. "Our kids came out in the third and fourth quarters and turned it on though. Our defensive intensity - it was excellent. We really stepped it up a notch but that second quarter's the one that hurt us."
The first-year coach said the Tigers are entering a pivotal point in their season. With only league games ahead on the schedule, Lighthizer said it's imperative the Tigers continue to play the way they have since coming out of the break.
"If we keep playing like we're playing, we'll definitely be sitting in the third or fourth seed in the league," Lighthizer said. "I've already seen a big improvement from the first of the year, so if we keep improving, who knows."
The Hayden boys (4-5 overall, 1-1 in league) next play at 7 p.m. Friday at North Park
Hayden girls suffer first league loss
The Hayden girls basketball team couldn't carry the momentum of Friday's dominating win against West Grand into Saturday's showdown with Meeker, falling 65-47.
The Tigers were within 10 points for most of the first half, before Meeker's pressure defense and uptempo style of play started to take over.
"It wasn't our best performance," junior Elaine Cromie said. "I think we can beat them, we just have to get through all those little things."
Despite the loss, Cromie said the Tigers (6-3 overall, 1-1 in league) came away from the first two league games optimistic about the rest of the schedule.
Hayden continues play at 5:30 p.m. Friday at North Park.