Hayden girls hoops wins 2 more, remains unbeaten

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Hayden girls basketball, 2008-09

Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

— Hayden High School girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton delivered bad news for the rest of the teams on the Tigers' schedule this season.

"The girls came back from break with even more fire," he said Saturday night.

His claim certainly sounded legitimate after several powerful weekend performances. The girls won twice this weekend, beating West Grand on Friday night 68-43, then turning around and winning Saturday at Plateau Valley, 66-44.

"I'm really pleased," Hamilton said. "We are really more focused than ever before. They're intense now."

That intensity proved to be far too much for both of Hayden's opponents.

Senior Holli Salazar led the way Friday night with 29 points against West Grand.

Kylee Sweetser scored 18 as the Tigers racked up the steals thanks to their aggressive full-court pressure.

"The press was pretty awesome," Hamilton said. "We played some awesome defense against West Grand."

The press was equally effective Saturday against Plateau Valley. Hayden built a 24-4 advantage by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

In scoring, Sweetser led the way with 15 points. Rachael Koehler added 14, Salazar had 13 and Caitlin Mahanna scored 10.

"We talked about wanting to come out and have a great first quarter because we've had some slow starts," Hamilton said. "We really set the tone and had our best first quarter of the season. We came out and got red-hot shooting. Everyone was hitting, the press was working and it was awesome."

Boys split weekend games

Hayden put it all together Friday night in a 59-53 win against West Grand.

The Tigers blasted their way to an 18-3 first-quarter lead en route to the victory.

It was all different just a day later, however, as the team fell into a 17-2 hole against Plateau Valley and went on to lose, 59-35.

"It's plagued us all year," Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. "From night to night, even from quarter to quarter, you can't be sure what to expect."

Murphy Smartt and Zach Barnes each scored 13 points to lead the way Friday. Graid Medvesk added 12 and Billy Zehner scored 11.

"Offensively, we played pretty well," Luppes said about the victory. "We had some turnovers we should not have had and we relaxed a little too much, but that's something we'll continue to work on."

Smartt and Medvesk each scored 11 Saturday against Plateau Valley.

Hayden never managed to recover from the huge deficit, but Luppes said the team can take pride in the fact that it played better in the second half.

"I was proud of the whole team for coming back out in the second half and getting the intensity going," he said. "Plateau Valley is a good ball club and played flawlessly in the first half. They put it to us in that first quarter, but we came back, picked it up and played better."

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

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