Hayden High School sophomore Ben Williams drives along the baseline looking for a route to the basket Saturday in the third-place game of the district tournament. Hayden lost for the second time in as many days, but it still will advance to play in the the regional tournament this week.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden High School sophomore Ben Williams drives along the baseline looking for a route to the basket Saturday in the third-place game of the district tournament. Hayden lost for the second time in as many days, but it still will advance to play in the the regional tournament this week.

Rangely boys basketball shoots down Hayden

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Hayden boys basketball, 2008-09

Game statistics

Rangely 63, Hayden 56

Rangely 17-14-13-19 - 63

Hayden 9-15-15-17 - 56

Rangely - Chavez 3 1-2 7, Brady 5 4-4 14, Phelan 8 9-11 30, Mecham 0 1-2 1, Dahl 2 2-4 7, Morton 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 17-23 63.

Hayden - Medvesk 5 1-2 13, J.Engle 0 1-2 1, Zehner 3 0-0 7, Z.Engle 5 0-0 10, Valdez 1 0-0 2, Smartt 4 2-7 10, Barnes 2 5-6 9. Totals 20 9-17 56.

3-pointers - Rangely (6) - Phelan 5, Dahl. Hayden (3) - Medvesk 2, Zehner.

Having already played Rangely three times and losing twice, the Hayden boys basketball team entered Saturday's fourth showdown with the Panthers - this time in the consolation game of the district tournament - well aware of the danger Rangely's Patrick Phelan could pose from the free throw line.

The sharpshooting junior proved Saturday he's good from more than one spot, however, and his rain of terror sent the Tigers to their second loss in as many days.

Phelan scored 30 points as Rangely beat Hayden, 63-56.

"He was hitting from far out," Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. "He hasn't been hot like that against us before. We kept coming a little further out after him, and he just kept shooting."

The junior guard has used his lightning-quick speed to draw fouls all season and misses from the free-throw line about once a month. He was 9-of-11 from the line Saturday, almost out of character considering he went 19-of-21 earlier this season against Soroco.

He more than made up the difference, sinking deep 3-point shots throughout the game. His work was just steady enough to blunt Hayden's numerous attempts to climb back within striking distance.

"They're a tough team to guard," senior forward Zach Barnes said. "If you guard Phelan too close, he'll drive in."

Sophomore Graig Medvesk led the Tigers with 13 points and spearheaded the team's best attempt to pull even after falling behind big in the first quarter.

Hayden trailed by seven points at the half, but Murphy Smartt, who finished with 10 points, scored to open the second half, and Medvesk sank a 3-point shot to pull the Tigers within one basket, 31-29.

"We needed to get our intensity up after the first quarter," Barnes said. "We weren't rebounding as well as we should have, but when we got to hustling down the floor and running with them, we did better."

Phelan stormed back, however, answering Medvesk's trey with one of his own, then adding three more points when he scored and drew a foul.

Medvesk got a pass to Zach Engle in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to five and started a small rally in the waning moments to cut the lead to six. Hayden never could maintain enough momentum to get any closer. The lead never stretched wider than 10 in the second half, but - outside the short-lived two-point margin - was never within five, either.

"We came out and played well after a tough first quarter, but it's tough to come back against a good team like that," Luppes said.

The loss dropped Hayden to fourth place in the district tournament and ensured a rough road awaits in the regional tournament.

The Tigers will travel Friday to play at Standley Lake High School in Westminster. Hayden, fourth in District 5, will face the champion of District 7 in the first round of the four-team regional.

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