Hayden girls basektball wins against Vail Christian | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden girls basektball wins against Vail Christian

— The ultimate sign of respect, the sign that she was having the kind of season she'd dreamed, rang out early and often Saturday for Hayden High School girls basketball player Kelsey Rolando.

"No. 23! Where's No. 23?" Vail Christian coach Doug Bruce bellowed from the bench both early and late in Saturday's showdown between the Tigers and the Saints, and really any time Hayden got to passing the ball around the perimeter.

Rolando certainly earned the attention; the senior poured in six 3-point shots for a team-high 18 points that helped power the Tigers to a 56-32 win against Vail Christian.

"It's kind of nerve-racking, with everyone watching me, but it's pretty cool," the Tigers' senior said about the sensation.

Her teammates were glad she was feeling it Saturday, though she certainly wasn't the only Tiger to catch fire. Hayden used a crushing second-quarter run to dispatch Vail Christian, dialing up the full-court pressure midway through that period.

The increased pressure led to Saints turnovers, and the turnovers led to Tiger points, with the game going from a 16-16 tie to a 24-16 advantage in a flash.

Rolando added two of her treys in the final minute of the second quarter, and senior Erin Koehler scored to open the third, locking the game away and giving Hayden a 32-16 lead.

"We executed our press much better," coach Michelle Wilkie said. "Presses are momentum changers. We did what we practiced and it changed the momentum of our game."

Koehler finished with 14 points, and senior Aubree Haskins had 11 as Hayden ran away with the game in the second half.

Vail Christian, meanwhile, was held to 2 points in the second quarter and 9 in the third.

The win bumped the Tigers to 8-3. They return to action at home against Soroco on Friday.

"This next week's going to be tough, but we can do it," Rolando said. "I have a good feeling about this season."

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