Hayden senior Justin Moon puts up a shot Friday against Meeker. The Tigers won the game, 60-50.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden senior Justin Moon puts up a shot Friday against Meeker. The Tigers won the game, 60-50.

Hayden boys basketball plays strong even without top player

Tigers win against Cowboys, 60-50

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Hayden's Hunter Johnston throws a pass behind his head Friday as the Tigers beat Meeker, 60-50.

— It’s not that the Hayden High School boys basketball team wants to play the rest of its games without Ben Williams, a senior and one of the team’s most experienced and talented players.

It’s just that the team took a lot of pride Friday in the fact that it was forced to do just that, and it still came out with a win against a tough rival.

Williams missed the game because of a college baseball workshop, but the Tigers got hot late to beat Meeker, 60-50, relying on a few players who stepped up and a huge game from Graig Medvesk.

“It was hustle. We just out-hustled them,” Medvesk said. “We wanted to win more than they did.”

Medvesk finished with 25 points, overcoming a Meeker defense that seemed intent on limiting his influence.

He faced a box-and-one defense for much of the game but showed early that wasn’t going to be effective, dribbling the ball down the court and pulling up from three feet behind the 3-point arch to bury a shot.

Medvesk hit another big 3-point shot in the third quarter to keep Meeker at bay and then laid in another basket after a steal. It was Hunter Johnston’s big baskets late in the game that helped finish the Cowboys, however.

Medvesk passed to Johnston after a steal for an easy basket to give Hayden a 52-50 lead with 1 minute, 45 seconds remaining. Johnston then scored twice right under the hoop, drawing fouls on each play. He missed both free throws, but the late points helped tip the scale.

“Any win tonight was going to be a good win,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said.

Johnston finished with 10 points. Mark Doolin had 9, Dayton Dowling and Jorge Valdez each had 6 and Justin Moon scored 4 for the Tigers.

The team, 4-1, returns to action Tuesday with a road trip to Vail Christian.


HAYDEN BOYS 60, MEEKER 50
 


Meeker                  16-6-17-11 — 50

Hayden                 16-11-16-17 — 60
 


Meeker — Trey Morris 2 0-0 5, Dylan Mobley 2 0-0 5, Jake Nieslanik 6 1-7 15, Cole Steiner 5 3-5 13, Ryan Wix 6 0-0 12. Totals 21 4-12 50.
 


Hayden — Hunter Johnston 5 0-2 10, Dayton Dowling 2 0-0 6, Graig Medvesk 9 5-6 25, Jorge Valdez 3 0-1 6, Mark Doolin 4 0-0 9, Justin Moon 2 0-3 4. Totals 25 5-12 60.
 


3-pointers: Meeker (4) — Nieslanik 2, Molbey, Morris. Hayden (3) — Medvesk 2, Doolin.

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