Hayden boys basketball gets in the win column, rout De Beque | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden boys basketball gets in the win column, rout De Beque

Tigers snap season-long 11-game losing streak

— From the outside looking in, there was plenty of reason to question, but Hayden High School senior Juan Carlos Valdez said he never had a doubt.

His boys basketball team woke up Friday without a win, but it didn't go to sleep that way.

The Tigers knocked off De Beque playing in Hayden on Friday night, 62-38.

"We've been working really hard and it finally paid off," Valdez said. "I was always confident."

Valdez was a big part of the team's best game of the season.

He hit a 3-pointer early to help built a first quarter lead, then another in the second quarter as a small advantage was ballooned into a comfortable cushion.

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The Tigers didn't let up at all in the second half, pushing the lead to 20 by the end of the third quarter and beyond that into the fourth.

After starting its season 0-11, Hayden wasn’t about to let this one be close.

Valdez actually fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, but with the game in hand, he went to the bench with a sheepish grin rather than a pained grimmace.

He finished with 26 points.

Thomas Rauch had a big night for Hayden, as well, and also was essential in that fast start. He hit two early treys and scored eight first-quarter points en route to a 14-point night.

Kole Miner also scored 14, eight of his coming in the fourth quarter as Hayden put the game away.

Jesse Graham scored 15 for De Beque and Zachary Powell had 11.

"Our energy was better tonight," Valdez said. "We knew this was a team we could beat and we proved to everyone we could."

From miles away this looked to be Hayden's chance to snap the losing streak. De Beque also entered 0-11, uncompetitive in nearly every game it had played this year.

Hayden has had plenty of ugly ones in its season, but it's gotten closer and closer as the season's gone on.

Something had to give Friday.

The Tigers were thrilled to be the ones doing the taking.

"It feels great," Valdez said. "Hopefully we keep working hard the rest of the season and we'll get some more wins."

Hayden will try to do that starting Saturday as it travels for a 4:30 p.m. game at Vail Christian.

It's looking ahead to a tough week, too, with away games Thursday and Friday at Meeker and North Park, and a home date Feb. 7 against West Grand.

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