Hayden boys fall to Rangely; girls reach finals

Joel Reichenberger
Hayden senior Zach Barnes lofts a shot over a pair of Rangely defenders Friday. Barnes found plenty of room to operate in the lane against the shorter Panthers and led all scorers with 19 points. It wasn't enough to keep the Tigers from their first loss of the season, however. Hayden fell, 55-52.
Joel Reichenberger

Rangely boys 55, Hayden 52

Rangely 13-16-13-13-55

Hayden 9-20-17-6-52

Rangely - Adam Dahl 6 1-2 15, Roman Chavez 6 1-1 13, James Herrera 3 1-1 7, Michael Morton 3 3-3 9, Blake Mecham 4 0-0 9, Kanden Brady 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 6-7 55.

Hayden - Zach Barnes 6 6-8 19, Murphy Smartt 1 3-4 6, Graig Medvesk 3 0-1 8, Jeremy Engle 4 2-3 11, Zach Engle 4 0-0 8. Totals 18 11-16 52.

3-pointers: Rangely (2) - Dahl 2. Hayden (4) - Medvesk 2, Smartt , J. Engle.

— The Hayden boys basketball team started and finished Friday night’s game against Rangely the same way.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, that meant long scoreless streaks both early and late in the back-and-forth game undercut an otherwise strong effort. Hayden lost for the first time this season, 55-52.

“We play in spurts so bad. That’s the weakness of the team,” Tigers senior Zach Barnes said. “We came out and played bad, fixed it for awhile and smoked them, then they came back again.”

Rangely erased an early fourth-quarter deficit and took the lead moments later thanks to a pair of steals and fast-break layups. Hayden senior Zach Engle scored to tie the game at 51, but the Tigers (1-1) could add only one point in the final three minutes.

A string of turnovers crippled the team as it failed to take advantage of several Rangely gaffes. Rangely’s Adam Dahl scored on another fast break with 13 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to three.

“Both teams made mistakes there at the end, but we made a few shots to get ahead,” Rangely coach Mark Skelton said. “We got that breakaway layup to go ahead by three and at the end didn’t have to worry about them getting it inside on their last possession.”

Hayden was turnover-prone and unnecessarily hurried in its weakest moments, but it was aggressive and powerful in its strongest.

Barnes was a force throughout the game and led all scorers with 19. He sank three straight free throws to help jumpstart Hayden from a 13-3 first-quarter hole, then scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Tigers pushed their lead to six points at 46-40.

“He had a height advantage and we were able to get the ball into him,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. “They couldn’t handle him so they kept fouling and he took advantage at the line. We got away from that more than we should have late in the game.”

Senior Jeremy Engle added 11 points while Graig Medvesk and Zach Engle each had eight for Hayden.

Dahl led the Panthers (1-0) with 15 points, ahead of Roman Chavez’s 13.

Girls into championship game

Hayden girls basketball senior Holli Salazar led the way Friday as the Tigers powered their way into the championship game of the Meeker Tournament. Hayden, thanks to a 49-40 win against Rangely, will play at 3:45 p.m. today in Meeker against either North Park or the host Cowboys.

“We have to take care of the ball better,” Hayden coach Eric Hamilton said. “We also need to come out with a lot more intensity on defense.”

The Tigers overcame those deficiencies in a tight game against Rangely. Salazar poured in 20, and the Tigers got eight points from Elaine Cromie off the bench.

“We really worked it inside to Holli a lot,” Hamilton said. “We came out real flat and Rangely played a great game. We didn’t play our best, but we got the win so we’re on to the championship.”

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