Hayden girls hoops face challenge in Paonia

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— It’s not so much that they feel lucky to be continuing in the district tournament at 6 p.m. Friday in Kremmling against Paonia, Hayden girls coach Michelle Wilkie said about her team.

The Tigers are simply happy, she explained, and they’ll enter the two-game weekend smiling wide.

Hayden survived Soroco on Tuesday by a single point.

“They just want to play ball,” Wilkie said. “They’re excited to play this weekend and excited to know they’ll get to play next weekend, too.”

She said Tuesday’s narrow escape rattled the team’s vision into focus, reminding it to concentrate on some fundamentals. Soroco was able to slow some of the Tigers’ most potent threats, limiting forward Erin Koehler and 3-point artist Kelsey Rolando. Wilkie said finding ways to help the rest of the team fill those voids will be key. Of course, those two regular pistons and every Tiger capable of putting the ball through the hoop may need to be on fire against Paonia. The Eagles have lost just two league games in coach Scott Rienks’ four full seasons and went undefeated in this, his fifth, season.

“It’s the end of the season, but we still have things to work on,” Wilkie said. “We know we get two more weekends, so this weekend, we just want to get better. … The girls have definitely had a great attitude, and there’s a confidence about them right now.”

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