Hayden boys basketball team rolls past Soroco | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden boys basketball team rolls past Soroco

Luke Graham

— The first check mark is next to the first goal.

With a blistering 82-44 win Friday against cross-county rival Soroco, the Hayden High School boys basketball team exits the regular season at 11-0 in league play and the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.

"We've always said the end of the season was when we want to peak," Tigers coach Mike Luppes said. "We're hoping that's an indication that we're getting there."

If it was an indication of anything, it may be that these Tigers are one of the best teams in all of Class 2A.

Hayden's full spectrum of offensive firepower was on display.

Senior Jorge Valdez flirted with a quadruple double Friday. He scored 25 points, all in the first three quarters, to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, five steals and four blocks.

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Mark Doolin had a quiet 17 points, and Paul Laliberte added in 11.

Soroco, whose guards struggled with Hayden's pressure, was led by forward Ryan Jeep's 22 points.

"They're good," Soroco coach Jake Eskridge said. "There's a reason they are the No. 7 team in the state. But we're better than we showed on the court."

That No. 7 ranking may be light. The Tigers blew the game open in the first quarter, finishing the first eight minutes on a 15-6 run to take a 20-10 lead.

Hayden led 45-24 at half and had extended it to 68-33 at the end of three quarters.

Now the Tigers are the hunted. The team will play Vail Mountain in the opening round of the district tournament at 6 p.m. at home Tuesday.

Soroco will travel to Meeker.

"There are a lot of teams that think they can beat us," Luppes said. "That's a dangerous thing when there are teams that think they can beat you."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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