North Park's huge 4th quarter sinks Hayden girls hoops

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— Led by a roster that features just one senior, the Hayden High School girls basketball team scrapped its way through a four-quarter battle Thursday night, but the Tigers ultimately fell, 46-39, at North Park in their season opener.

Hayden and North Park were deadlocked at eight after one quarter, but the Tigers trailed by five going into the locker room at halftime. Hayden’s offensive rhythm found its stride in the third quarter, taking the lead, 29-25.

Then North Park found its own offensive rhythm in a big way.

The Wildcats ripped off 21 fourth-quarter points and Hayden struggled at the free-throw line to fall to 0-1 on the young season.

“It kind of went back and forth for a while,” Hayden coach Michelle Wilkie said. “They had a lead for a little bit. We couldn’t buy a basket to save our life.”

Wilkie’s lone senior Olivia Zehner pitched in eight points while Taylor Hagar led the Tigers with 11. Wilkie said Zehner is her team’s clear leader, but Hagar’s performance Thursday night caught her by surprise.

“Taylor kind of came out of nowhere and executed offensively,” Wilkie said. “Overall right now, we’re pretty evenly distributed. I hope eventually that will change and we’ll have some more depth.”

The Tigers have just a brief break in game play Friday before heading north to Wyoming on Saturday to take on Saratoga, looking for their first win of the 2013-14 season.

“We still have to work,” Wilkie said. “We got that first game out, now we know what we have to do to get better.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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