Tigers boys take bite out of Rattlers | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers boys take bite out of Rattlers

Williams lifts Hayden past Baggs

Dave Shively

— After his team’s Tuesday night basketball game against Little Snake River (Baggs, Wyo.), Hayden point guard Jordan Williams had one prediction for the upcoming season: “It’s not going to be easy.”

But in a game Williams characterized as “a little sloppy,” his shot certainly fell pretty easily. Williams had four 3-pointers and a team-leading 25 points to lead the Tigers to a 55-43 win against the Rattlers.

Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner agreed that the first quarter opened with sloppy play in a series of turnovers by both teams. It took the Tigers four minutes to establish a 4-2 lead, and they never looked back.

Early rebounds from Hayden’s Zach Barnes helped set up Williams for a pair of 3-pointers to put Hayden up 16-8.

The second half opened with another Williams 3-pointer and a Rattler turnover. But Rattlers scrapped their way back into the game with the help of Logan Adams and Ty Crawford, who led the Rattlers with 13 and nine points, respectively. A Crawford basket with less than a minute in the second quarter cut the Tigers’ lead to 27-22 at the half.

“We opened up the lead but let them back in the game before the half,” Baumgartner said. “We pulled away in the third (quarter), but then we let them hang in there.”

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Crawford helped the Rattlers hang in the game by netting a 3-pointer to keep the Hayden lead at five. Williams answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own and then made a steal and breakaway layup to extend the lead to 10.

The Tigers then focused on getting the ball to the low post and working shots from Dave Gullett, who scored seven of his nine points in the second half. Gullett and Bryan Richards, who also scored nine, controlled the boards at both ends of the court.

But Little Snake River kept the Tigers lead to within 10 points because of what Williams attributed to the Rattlers’ full-court press.

“At the end, they started pressing us, and we didn’t handle it well,” Williams said. “Both Rangely and Baggs pressed us and we try to go too fast.”

Baumgartner still could not complain about the win, which put his team to 2-0 on the season.

“It’s just the little things – taking care of the basketball, making better decisions and the maturity and fundamentals we need to work through,” he said.

Hayden travels to the Meeker tournament, Thursday through Saturday, for its next set of games.