Tigers girls team captures basketball championship


— Two years ago, the Hayden girls basketball began its drive to the state basketball tournament by winning a season-opening tournament in Meeker.

The Tigers now are hoping another win in that same tournament can signal the start of another great campaign.

After beating Rangely, 68-56, on Friday in the semifinals, Hayden blasted Palisade, 59-33, on Saturday in Meeker to capture the tournament championship for the second time in three years.

“It was awesome,” coach Eric Hamilton said. “This was our second goal of the year, to come and win this championship. We wanted to start out with a win, then go on to win the championship.”

The win was fueled by an intense defense that locked down in the second half, just as the Tigers’ offense was taking off. Hayden, 3-0 on the season, blew open a 23-17 halftime lead, outscoring Palisade by 11 in the third quarter and nine in the fourth.

Erin Koehler poured in 17 en route to all-tournament team honors. She had plenty of help as eight Tigers got on the board for the second consecutive game.

Kyra Rolando and Brette Frentress each scored nine, Aubree Haskins had eight and Delanie VeDepo, who joined Koehler in earning all-tournament honors, scored six.

“It was a blast,” said Hamil­­ton, who now prepares his team for a Saturday showdown at Vail Christian.


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