Utah team edges out Tigers girls

Late free throws send Hayden basketball to season-opening loss

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— The bright side, Hayden girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton said with a deep sigh, is that there was a lesson learned.

“God, I wish I had called a timeout,” he said Thursday evening. “It was bad coaching. I should have called it. Live and learn.”

Hamilton said his self-diagnosed mistake cost his team a chance to take a late lead in its first game of the season against Altamont, Utah, in a tournament in Meeker. Instead, an Altamont player caused a turnover and eventually drew a foul. She made both of her free throws and sent the Tigers to a 46-44 season-opening loss.

“They were pretty tough. It was an awfully good game,” Hamilton said. “We just made a couple crucial errors there at the end.”

Hayden got the ball in a tie game with about 20 seconds remaining. Rather than call a timeout to set up a play, Hamilton let his girls go. The team couldn’t get a shot off and turned it over, leading to the decisive free throws.

That’s what made the difference in a contest that was tight throughout. Neither team led by more than five points.

Hayden was led by Sam Huffar, who came off the bench to drain three 3-point shots. She finished with 11.

The Tigers play again today against the loser of the Telluride and Meeker game.

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