Hayden's Jorge Valdez goes up for a shot on Saturday against Little Snake River.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden's Jorge Valdez goes up for a shot on Saturday against Little Snake River.

Intensity of Hayden boys hoops not enough in 66-53 loss

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Hayden sophomore Isaac Bridges fights for the ball on Saturday.

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Hayden's Jorge Valdez, left, and Hunter Johnston slap the ball away on Saturday.

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Hayden's Hunter Johnston puts up a shot on Saturday.

— They certainly weren’t looking for a loss, and no one associated with the Hayden High School boys basketball team is happy with a 2-3 record. But the squad found some hope in the latest set back, a 66-53 loss at the hands of Little Snake River, one of Wyoming’s best teams.

Hayden knew it had to be at its very best just to have a chance, and with four minutes to go, trailing by six, it at least had that chance.

“It’s good to finish with that kind of effort, even if it’s in a loss,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. “They showed they had it in them, and that’s important. Now we can work on it.”

Hayden got a huge game from junior forward Jorge Valdez, who scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds.

Valdez added several spectacular plays, including two massive blocked shots and one basket he made while falling backward, nearly on the ground before he let it go.

Mark Doolin had 11 points and nine boards, and Hunter Johnston scored 14.

Hayden trailed through the entire game, and at times, the Rattlers seemed a play away from blowing the game open. Hayden cut the deficit from 12 to 6 in the fourth quarter, but a pair of quick 3-pointers and a few Tigers turnovers kept things from getting any more interesting.

“It was a real good game. Our intensity was up 20 times higher than it’s been in the other games,” Johnston said. “We obviously have talented players, and (Saturday) everyone was playing hard. That’s what’s been missing.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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