Hayden junior Taylor Branstetter drives toward the basket in Friday night's victory against North Park. Branstetter scored four points in the game and hit one 3-point shot, one of 12 the Tigers poured in during the rout. The team returns to the court today at Rangely.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden junior Taylor Branstetter drives toward the basket in Friday night's victory against North Park. Branstetter scored four points in the game and hit one 3-point shot, one of 12 the Tigers poured in during the rout. The team returns to the court today at Rangely.

Hayden rolls over Wildcats on hardwood

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Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

Results

Hayden 76, North Park 27

North Park 7-2-8-10 - 27

Hayden 11-18-26-21 - 76

Hayden: Smartt 3 1-4 7, Barnes 4 1-1 9, J.Engle 4 2-2 10, Dylan Sather 1

0-0 3, Z.Engle 2 1-2 6, Valdez 2 0-0 4, Williams 2 0-0 6, Medvesk 3 0-0 9,

Zehner 2 0-0 4, Lee 0 3-4 3, Dubbs 4 0-0 11, Branstetter 1 1-2 4. Totals 28

9-15 76.

North Park: Sanchez 2 0-0 5, Burdick 4 0-2 8, Lytle 4 0-0 10, Drakulich 1 0-0 2, Berry 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 0-2 27.

3-pointers: North Park (3) - Lytle 2, Sanchez. Hayden (12) - Smartt, Sather, Z.Engle, Williams 2, Medvesk 3, Dubbs 3, Branstetter.

— Problems may not come much better than the dilemma that faced Hayden High School boys basketball coach Mike Luppes late in Friday night's game against North Park.

Luppes walked down his bench and put all of his starting varsity players back into the game.

The Hayden reserves were playing so well it seemed as if even they were running up the score on the Wildcats.

Luppes' attempt to throw cold water on his red-hot team did little to affect the final score as the Tigers cruised to a 76-27 Snowcoming victory.

"Our bench came in and raised our shooting percentage for the night," Luppes said.

Hayden players scored early and often, and by the end of the game, 12 of the 13 players listed on the varsity roster contributed with points. Nine different Tigers scored in the first half alone.

"Our bench has played well for the last couple games now," Luppes said. "Our starters came out a little slow, and it was really our bench that got us going."

A furious second-quarter streak, in which Hayden turned a four-point nail biter into a 20-point laugher, ensured all the Tigers would log plenty of minutes. Senior Zach Barnes and junior Murphy Smartt led the way for a dominating rebounding performance, abusing a smaller, younger Wildcat lineup throughout the game.

Still, there weren't all that many rebounds to grab. It seemed Hayden's guards couldn't miss from behind the 3-point line, especially in the second half.

Ben Williams sank two 3-point shots in the second quarter and Graig Medvesk followed with two more in the third. Junior Wayne Dubbs sank three more treys in the fourth quarter, capping a night when Hayden shooters made more splashes than Shamu at a pool party.

The team ended with 12 3-point baskets.

"We just got some open shots and knocked them down," said Dubbs, who scored all of his game-high 11 points in the fourth quarter. "It's great all of us on the bench did a good job. Our team has a good attitude, and we have our heads up high."

Jeremy Engle had 10 and Medvesk added nine. Brent Lytle scored 10 to lead North Park.

Luppes said the game, which offered his starters plenty of rest, was the perfect lead-in to today's trip to Rangely.

The Panthers beat the Tigers, 55-52, in the second game of the season, but Hayden returned the favor a few weeks later, winning, 57-46, to secure third place in a tournament at Meeker.

"It's great our starters got some rest and there wasn't a lot of strain," Luppes said. "If we can win (today), we would be 5-1 in the league, and that's a great start. That would be huge for us."

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