Hayden boys remain inconsistant

Slow 2nd quarter dooms Tigers against Meeker Bulldogs

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Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

— If anything has become apparent with the Hayden High School boys basketball team this year, it's that nothing is guaranteed.

Sometimes the team looks like the class of the district. Sometimes it looks like a team that belongs at the bottom.

Hayden (6-5 overall) showed both sides Tuesday in Meeker, falling 56-46.

The Tigers played the Cowboys tough in the beginning, trailing just 10-7 after one quarter. But in the second quarter, Hayden reverted back to bad habits. Meeker took advantage of a field-goalless quarter by Hayden to extend its lead to 29-11 at halftime.

"Defensively, we broke down," Hayden coach Mike Luppes said about the second quarter. "We lost intensity. We lost concentration. They got some easy baskets, and we couldn't buy a basket. When you go a quarter without scoring a field goal, you're in trouble."

The Tigers made a 180-degree turn in the second half, and in the third quarter, specifically. By the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Hayden had trimmed the Meeker lead to six points. The game remained at that margin until about two minutes remained and the Tigers started fouling.

The Cowboys hit their free throws down the stretch to keep the lead out of reach.

"Meeker is a good team. Don't take anything away from them," Luppes said. "That second half showed us we can play with them. We came away (from the) second half believing we can beat this team. But we have to come and play four quarters."

Murphy Smartt led the Tigers with 18 points, and sophomore Graig Medvesk added seven.

Hayden now prepares for a 7:30 p.m. game Friday at home against Paonia. Luppes said that despite Paonia's measly record, he knows from the competition the Eagles have played that his Tigers are in for a fight.

"They've got good kids," Luppes said about Paonia. "They've traditionally had a really strong program from varsity down to freshmen. We've spent a lot of time saying this is not a team we can overlook at all. That's a team, I'm afraid, that's going to give teams a lot of problems. It's just one you can't overlook."

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