Jorge Valdez goes up for a shot Friday against West Grand.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Jorge Valdez goes up for a shot Friday against West Grand.

Hayden boys basketball leans on reserves in win against West Grand

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the West Grand coach's name. It's Leo Pesch.

The Hayden High School boys basketball team was without one of its key components again Friday night with senior guard Paul Laliberte confined to the bench with an ankle injury.

That only gave the Tigers a chance to show off their depth, however. Senior Mark Doolin’s 21 points were big, but perhaps nothing was larger than contributions from juniors Dan Engle and Greg Frentress, who’ve played off the bench all season but came through Friday night to help Hayden hold off a determined West Grand squad, 71-52.

“The kids just got the ball to the people that were open. We were taking what they were giving us,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. “Then we were pounding the offensive boards and getting a lot of put backs. That was huge.”

Engle got the start in place of Laliberte, and he proved that given a canvas, he could paint the same kind of picture he has all season in shorter bursts. He scored 18 points, including 10 in the second quarter. He hit four 3-pointers.

Frentress, meanwhile, provided more valuable minutes at the guard position and scored 12.

“That’s really key,” senior Jorge Valdez said. “They’re always there to step up. They played great tonight, but they always play great.”

Hayden also got nine points from Valdez and eight from Aaron Cramer, with five players accounting for all the scoring.

West Grand hung tight early, then refused to go away after falling behind by 19 in the fourth quarter and after Mustangs coach Leo Pesch was tossed for arguing calls later that period.

They were led by Casey Gore’s 18 points and Nick Ritschard’s 16.

The Tigers, 13-2, return to the court Saturday against a struggling North Park squad. Laliberte will be out that game, as well, but Luppes said he’s likely due back next week.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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