Hayden girls weather late push, beat Vail Christian

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— Back-to-back losses last week had Hayden High School girls basketball reeling a bit, but the Tigers righted the ship in a nail-biter Friday night at Vail Christian.

Hayden built a 22-11 halftime lead, but the Saints scrapped their way back into it due in large part to a flurry of Tigers turnovers and a poor shooting third quarter. Hayden and Vail Christian exchanged buckets down the stretch, but the Tigers stole the win, 42-38.

“They just played so well,” Hayden coach Michelle Wilkie said about her team’s first league win of the season. “I was so proud of them.”

Kara Cozzens had a team-high 14 points, followed by Chancey Graham’s 11 and Taylor Hagar’s eight. Senior Olivia Zehner pitched in seven for Hayden.

The Tigers (5-6, 1-2 league) managed to hold Vail Christian’s two leading scorers to a combined nine points. The biggest stat of the night for Hayden, however? The number 17, as in 17 made free throws.

“Everyone contributed. They just played really well together,” Wilkie said. “They trusted each other. That was my thing. All the pistons were firing at once. It was smooth.”

Hayden’s next game is at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Rangely.

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

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