Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Hayden’s Isaac Bridges drives the ball Saturday at the district tournament in Kremmling. The Tigers defeated the Paonia Eagles in an easy 73-57 win.
Updated February 27, 2012 at 9:27 a.m.
2011-12 Tigers boys basketball schedule
- Dec. 8 to 10: Cowboy Shootout in Meeker
- Dec. 8: Hayden 43, Crested Butte 42
- Dec. 9: Meeker 66, Hayden 35
- Dec. 16: Hayden 59, North Park 41
- Dec. 17: Little Snake River 66, Hayden 53
- Jan. 6: Meeker 51, Hayden 42
- Jan. 10: Hayden 53, Vail Mountain 41
- Jan. 13: West Grand 68, Hayden 55
- Jan. 14: Hayden 70, North Park 45
- Jan. 20: Hayden 64, De Beque 36
- Jan. 21: Hayden 59, Vail Christian 50
- Jan. 27: Hayden 59, Soroco 40
- Jan. 28: Hayden 74, Rangely 60
- Jan. 31: Hayden 88, Vail Christian 72
- Feb. 3: Plateau Valley 79, Hayden 66
- Feb. 4: Hayden 75, Paonia 67
- Feb. 10: Hayden 69, Soroco 53
- Feb. 11: Hayden 61, West Grand 55
- Feb. 17: Hayden wins through forfeit again Vail Mountain
- Feb. 21: Hayden 73, Soroco 53
- Feb. 24: District Tournament: West Grand 58, Hayden 55
- Feb. 25: District Tournament: Hayden 73, Paonia 57
- March 2 and 3: at Regional Tournament
Kremmling There are times like Friday against West Grand when the Hayden High School boys basketball team can be frustrating.
Turnovers and a lack of flow highlight game play.
Then there are games like Saturday’s.
Hayden dominated the glass, got out and ran and easily wound up with a 73-57 win against Paonia.
The Tigers will be the third seed out of District 5 and will play at Standley Lake High School on Friday and Saturday.
Game times and brackets will be released Sunday.
“Oh yeah, that’s fun,” said Hayden point guard Hunter Johnston, who initiated a fast-moving game Saturday. “It was run and gun.”
Whereas West Grand was able to slow the game down and get Hayden out of its flow Friday, the Tigers dictated the pace Saturday.
It started up front where forwards Mark Doolin and Jorge Valdez simply dominated.
Doolin and Valdez combined for 38 points and 24 rebounds.
“Jorge was an animal today,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said about his senior forward, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and five steals. “He just dominated things down low.”
Still, early on, there was a game to be had. The Eagles led early and were able to keep pace with the Tigers for most of the first half.
Hayden took a 39-32 lead into halftime. And that’s as close as it would get.
The Tigers started the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 46-32 lead. From there, Hayden was able to get baskets in transition or run the offense through Doolin and Valdez down low.
At the beginning of the third quarter, “we got in the huddle and were like, ‘Let’s bury these guys,’” said Johnston, who also had five assists. “We really didn’t want it to be a close game.”
Valdez and Doolin each finished with 19 points. Johnston added 16, and Paul Laliberte had 13.
Hayden now prepares for the regional tournament Friday and Saturday. Although the brackets and teams aren’t known, the consensus Saturday was that finishing third in the District 5 tournament wasn’t a horrible thing.
Had Hayden lost, the team likely would have seen top-seeded Denver Christian. Had the team finished second, Hayden likely would have seen Denver Lutheran, a school that drops down from 3A to play in the 2A playoffs.
“We’re getting better and better at playing the way we want all the time,” Luppes said. “Our offense has to go through our post. Our posts don’t have to shoot it, but the ball has to go through them. Today, you saw that.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com