Hayden’s Delanie VeDepo beats her defender around the corner Friday as the Tigers knocked off Rangely in Hayden to advance to the district championship game.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden’s Delanie VeDepo beats her defender around the corner Friday as the Tigers knocked off Rangely in Hayden to advance to the district championship game.

Hayden girls basketball advances to championship

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Hayden's defense clamps down on a Rangely shooter Friday. The Tigers went on to win the game and advance to today's district championship.

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Hayden's Kyra Rolando drives for a basket Friday as the Tigers beat Rangely.

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Hayden coach Eric Hamilton makes a point to his team Friday during a timeout of the Tigers' win against Rangely.

Game statistics

Hayden girls 61, Rangely 44

Rangely 7-19-9-9 — 44

Hayden 16-15-13-17 — 61

Rangely — Rozilynn Thacker 1 2-2 4, Victoria Phelan 6 4-8 16, Torie Slagle 1 0-0 2, Brittany Babineaux 2 3-6 7, Marie Morton 1 6-10 8, Quincey Thacker 1 4-6 6, Hailee Russell 0 0-0 0, Aimee Hogan 0 0-0 0, Rosalise Coombs 0 0-1 1. Totals 12 20-34 44.

Hayden — Sierra Ehlers 2 2-3 6, Kyra Rolando 4 4-7 12, Delanie VeDepo 7 0-0 16, Brette Frentress 3 0-0 8, Erin Koehler 3 1-2 8, Aubree Haskins 0 0-0 0, Morgan Bell 1 0-0 2, Cassidy Bush 0 0-0 0, Lindsay Parrott 3 0-0 6, Kelsey Rolando 0 0-0 0, Amber Sather 0 2-2 2, Savannah Williams 0 1-3 1. Totals 23 10-17 61.

3-pointers: Rangely (0). Hayden (5) — VeDepo 2, Frentress 2, Koehler.

— It wasn’t hard to tell what Hayden High School girls coach Eric Hamilton’s message to his team was at halftime of a District 5 semifinal game against Rangely on Friday.

The Panthers spent the first 16 minutes outworking the more talented Tigers, and they looked like they might pull the upset.

But after the break, Ham­­ilton’s plea for his team to rebound and up the ante on defense worked, as Hayden used a big second half to run away with a 61-44 win.

“I hammered on them at halftime that we have to box out,” Hamilton said. “I think the key was just to keep pushing on them. We wore them out, and they got tired. Then we started making some shots.”

Hayden was never out of control in the game. The Tigers led early by as much as 21-9 before Rangely slowly worked its way back into the game.

The Panthers trailed just 31-26 at halftime and had cut the Tigers’ lead to 36-42 with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in the third quarter.

But that’s when Hayden responded and took the air out of Rangely.

Using a deep bench, with as many as nine Tigers getting regular minutes, Hayden wore down Rangely. The Tigers turned a 44-35 lead after three quarters into a 59-38 lead with less than two minutes to play.

“I really think we’re a third-quarter team,” Hayden guard Delanie VeDepo said. “We have been all season. We focused on rebounding. We wanted to control the boards, and we did that in the second half.”

VeDepo led the Tigers with 16 points. Kyra Rolando added 12, and Erin Koehler and Brette Frentress each had 8.

Hayden now preps for the district championship game at 1 p.m. today against Paonia.

The Eagles beat the Tigers, 63-48, in the two teams’ lone meeting this year.

“The key is to play solid the entire game. No letups,” Hamilton said about Paonia. “We have to out-rebound them. They beat us on the boards up here, and that shouldn’t happen. We have to out-rebound them and take care of the ball.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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