Hayden girls basketball to face Sanford in tournament


Hayden girls basketball, 2008-09


Class 2A state basketball tournament first-round games

No. 1 Wray (23-1) vs. No. 8 Akron (14-10), 5:30 p.m. Thursday

No. 2 Paonia (23-1) vs. No. 7 Merino (14-9), 8:30 p.m. Thursday

No. 3 Sanford (19-5) vs. No. 6 Hayden (21-3), 1:15 p.m. Thursday

No. 4 Meeker (18-6) vs. No. 5 Burlington (17-6) 10:15 a.m. Thursday

All Hayden High School girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton knows about Sanford is that it's not a large enough town to warrant a mention in his road atlas.

"I looked. We couldn't find it," he said.

His Tigers are about to become a lot more familiar with the small town in extreme south central Colorado.

Hayden will play Sanford in the opening round of the Great 8 state basketball tournament at 1:15 p.m. Thursday in Pueblo's Massari Fieldhouse.

Hayden enters the game with a 21-3 record. Sanford is 19-5.

"It's kind of like the way we went into the regional tournament - not knowing about the other team," Hamilton said. "We will just have to get our game ready and improve some things."

That philosophy paid off in a big way during the weekend as the Tigers won both games in the regional tournament to advance to the final state bracket.

Tournament organizers don't seem to have been as appreciative of Hayden's accomplishments. The Tigers are the six seed despite having lost only three times this season - two of those three losses coming to other teams in the tournament field.

Sanford is seeded third.

Although Hayden won't know much about its first round opponent, it intimately is familiar with several other pieces of the Great 8 puzzle. Meeker and Paonia will join Hayden in Pueblo. All three teams hail from the same district, and the Tigers have played a combined four games against the pair, going 2-2.

Paonia, which accounted for Hayden's only regular season loss, is the No. 2 seed and could be waiting in the state semifinals if the Tigers win their opening round game.

Meeker is the fourth seed and on the opposite side of the bracket.

"We want that rematch," Hamilton said about the potential collision with Paonia. "That's something we thought we'd get at districts, but that didn't happen. We'd love a shot at them to move on to the championship.

"It's pretty outstanding for our district to get three teams in the final eight. That shows how tough our league was this year."

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


Mike Coziahr 8 years, 1 month ago

San-ford? Who is this San-ford? Crush them!

Go Tigers!!


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