Hayden boys basketball loses in rout against Meeker

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Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

Statistics

Meeker 73, Hayden 45

Meeker 21-19-14-19 - 73

Hayden 4-11-11-19 - 45

Meeker - Jacob 3 0-0 8, Brown 5 7-8 17, Nieslanik 2 0-0 6, Gerloff 5 4-4 14, Steiner 0 2-2 2, Campbell 3 1-1 8, Crowe 6 1-2 14, Marisciano 1 0-0 2, Wix 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 15-17 73.

Hayden - Medvesk 3 3-3 9, J.Engle 1 0-0 3, Z.Engle 1 0-0 3, Valdez 2 0-1 4, Smartt 4 7-8 15, Williams 3 2-4 8, Barnes 1 1-2 3. Totals 15 13-18 45.

3-pointers: Meeker (6) - Jacob 2, Nieslanik 2, Campbell, Crowe. Hayden (2) - Z.Barnes, J.Barnes.

Hayden High School boys basketball coach Mike Luppes didn't struggle to find a positive after Friday night's disheartening 73-45 loss to Meeker.

"We played a lot better in the second half," he said.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, even a much-improved second half wasn't enough to cut into Meeker's massive lead. The Cowboys scored 21 points in the first quarter and rode away with the game before Hayden even seemed to show up.

Luppes said any hope of hanging with a team such as Meeker later this season - in the looming and all-important district tournament, for instance - starts with defense.

It's an area Hayden was severely lacking in early in Friday's game. The Tigers could do little to stop the Meeker machine, which ground out an 8-0 lead and never blinked.

Five different Cowboys scored in the first half of the first quarter, and they scored from nearly everywhere.

Sometimes they snuck the ball in low, behind Hayden's forwards.

They scored on fast breaks, and they seemingly sank every shot they took from 15 feet and beyond.

By the time Hayden got a chance to breathe after the first quarter, it already trailed by 17 points.

"They shot the ball pretty well," Luppes said. "They're obviously a good team. They shot the ball well, but they also executed their offense to get those shots."

As troublesome as Meeker's offense was, its defense caused just as many problems.

Hayden's Murphy Smartt was the only Tiger to score in the first quarter, where he got four of his team-high 15 points.

It was little better in the second. Hayden added four free throws early in the second quarter, but the deficit already was 22 points before any Tiger connected on a field goal.

"We didn't have some shots drop early. They played good defense, too, and pushed us out of some of what we wanted to do," Luppes said. "It looked better in the second half when we started penetrating with the ball."

Even fouling didn't slow Meeker down. The team made 15 of 17 free throw attempts. The Cowboys' Colton Brown, who led all scorers with 17 points, hit seven of eight free throws.

"They're all shooters," Luppes said. "We knew that, but especially tonight they were all shooters.

"We'd like to think we will see them again in the district tournament. We'll need to get a lot better offensive looks, and we need to penetrate more with the ball."

Hayden, 9-7, returns to action today at Vail Christian.

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