Prep sports roundup: Hayden girls open 4-game stretch tonight

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All three local high school wrestling teams — Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Soroco — will participate in a meet Saturday in Leadville.

The Steamboat Springs High School Alpine team, meanwhile, will race in a giant slalom event today at Ski Cooper, and the Nordic team will race Saturday in Vail.

If you go

What: Hayden boys and girls basketball vs. Vail Christian

When: Girls play at 5 p.m. today, boys play at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hayden High School

— Hayden girls basketball coach Eric Hamilton said his team isn’t taking Vail Christian, its opponent in a 5 p.m. game today in Hayden, for granted. It’s only that he expects his team to fare well — particularly given what the schedule has in store for the Tigers.

The team plays at home against Little Snake River on Tuesday, then against North Park and Rangely next weekend.

“We’re really gearing up for a huge week, a very important week,” said Hamilton, whose 8-3 Tigers made the Colorado Preps Network Class 2A top 10 for the first time this season, sliding in at No. 9. “We need to really focus on our offensive sets against Vail Christian. We’re throwing some new stuff in to try and improve our scoring, and we’ll be working on some different defense, too.”

The Saints are 5-6 on the season but are in the midst of their best streak of basketball this winter.

The team beat up on hapless Lake County on Tuesday, 54-33, and won two of its three games before that, including a 35-33 win against a solid Western Slope squad in West Grand.

Hamilton said the game would be another important chance for the team to grow accustomed to playing without senior guard Jarah Woodley, who will miss the rest of the year with an injury.

The four remaining regular starters — Rachael Koehler, Erin Koehler, Kyra Rolando and Delanie VeDepo — have played better, he said, and senior Calla Manzanares has stepped in and played well in the fifth spot.

“It says a lot about how many girls there are on our team that can really play ball,” Hamilton said. “We have really solid junior and sophomore classes that worked hard all summer long. Plus, Calla has really stepped up and shown she can really play at the varsity level.

“The other starters have really worked so hard. Everyone has picked up their game, and I think that’s made a big difference.”

Hayden boys hope to limit turnovers vs. Vail Christian

The Hayden boys basketball team has played to the level of its opponent for most of the past two seasons. Tonight, the squad hopes to end that trend by handling a 5-5 Vail Christian team.

“They’re a team we’ll have to show up to beat,” Tigers coach Mike Luppes said. “What we need to do is play as well as we can, step it up a notch and play from the start to the finish of a game to try and get them put away early.”

Hayden is coming off a weekend that featured one of its best performances of the season, though that effort still led to a loss against Western Slope front-runner Meeker.

The 8-4 team rebounded by pounding De Beque, but for it to stay in the winning track it will need to continue what it does best — rebound — and fix what has been a persistent problem — turnovers.

“Those turnovers are what enable teams to stay in the ballgame with us,” Luppes said. “We are actually shooting the ball pretty well, but we’re still coming away with too many empty possessions where we can’t get shots because we give the ball away.”

Soroco squad to open weekend vs. De Beque

Soroco boys basketball coach Sam McLeod said his team will need to be focused if it’s to prevent an upset on a road trip tonight at De Beque.

“They have one exceptional player but maybe not as big of a supporting cast as some other teams,” McLeod said. “We have got to contain that guy and not let him go crazy.”

The girls, meanwhile, will try to avoid becoming the De Beque’s girls team’s first victory.

The trip marks the start of a busy weekend for both Soroco teams. After tonight’s games, they return home for a pair of home games that start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The girls will play Meeker at 2:30 and the boys will follow up at 4 p.m.

“Meeker plays a good, strong full-court man-to-man defense, so we’ll have to run our offense and keep our turnovers down,” Soroco girls coach David Bruner said. “We will need to attack the basket and try and get them in foul trouble because we’re outsized by quite a bit.”

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