Routt County high school sports preview for Jan. 9

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Hayden boys basketball

5:30 p.m. Friday: Hayden, 1-5, vs. West Grand, 6-1

4 p.m. Saturday: Hayden at Encampment

It doesn’t look like much of a game on paper, the hapless 1-5 Tigers against a strong team of Mustangs. Hayden's early season stumbling was thanks in large part to injuries, however, and now the Tigers expect two of their top starters back. Seniors Isaac Bridges and Greg Frentress will be back on the court, a huge help for the team’s third senior, Dan Engel, who shouldered the bulk — about 75 percent — of the team’s scoring before the break. It’s usually fun between Hayden and West Grand, and suddenly it looks like that could prove true again.

Steamboat Springs hockey

6:30 p.m. Friday: Steamboat, 5-4, at Dakota Ridge, 5-0-2

Steamboat stumbled earlier this week against a powerful Monarch squad and the road doesn’t get any easier for the Sailors. Dakota Ridge, ranked No. 7 in the state by www.chsaanow.com, that enters undefeated with two draws. The team has a week off after Friday night’s game. They’d much rather relax with a win than mull a two-game losing streak.

Steamboat Springs boys basketball

7:30 p.m. Friday: Steamboat, 5-2, at Palisade, 6-2

2:30 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat at Delta, 3-4

The Sailors had a strong start to the season but still limped out of 2013, losing big against Glenwood Springs. Nothing but their best will likely suffice Friday against a Palisade team that’s won five straight. The key will be containing seniors Jacob Bollinger and Zach Marengo, who average a combined 25 points per game. Saturday’s game at Delta is an opportunity for an important road win but is anything but a sure thing. After starting 0-4, the Panthers strung together a three-game winning streak of their own.

Steamboat Springs girls basketball

6 p.m. Friday: Steamboat, 5-2, at Palisade, 6-1

1 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat at Delta, 2-5

Steamboat was no match for the No. 4 team in the state, Glenwood, in its last game before break. Now it will get a crack at the No. 9 Palisade on Friday. The Bulldogs are coming off their own ugly pre-holiday break loss, to 5A No. 9 Grand Junction. Steamboat was held 20 points below its season average in that Glenwood game. The team will be hoping to bounce back to the median Friday but may need even a bit more than that to knock off Palisade. Delta, who the Sailors play Saturday, has struggled but has been in the game for many of its losses.

Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Soroco wrestling

Friday and Saturday: Steamboat and Hayden at Uintah Tournament of Champions, Vernal, Utah.

9 a.m. Saturday: Soroco at Eagle Valley

Steamboat and Hayden each had strong tournament results in December, though failure to duplicate them in Utah won’t necessarily be a bad sign. Hailed annually as more difficult than the state tournament, the Tournament of Championships should be a great measuring stick for the local programs, and give them a realistic picture on where they are as they head into the meat of their season. Soroco, competing more locally, will be trying to build for late season success. The pieces are there for the Rams.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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