Tigers boys fall in Wyoming | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers boys fall in Wyoming

Hayden girls remain unbeaten

Joel Reichenberger

— It wasn’t just that his team lost that bothered Hayden boys basketball Mike Luppes after Saturday’s game at Snake River High School in Baggs, Wyo. It was that the Tigers, in their 64-43 defeat, bore nearly nothing in common with the squad that won its biggest game of the season just two days prior against Soroco.

“Everything we did right on Thursday, we did the opposite on Saturday,” Luppes said. “We were very disappointed.”

Senior Zach Barnes led the team with 12 points, and Murphy Smartt supplied 10. It wasn’t nearly enough to help the Tigers.

Hayden clung to a one-point lead after the first quarter, but quickly fell behind and trailed by nine at halftime.

Snake River continued to stretch the lead in the third and fourth quarters.

“We didn’t play well. We got out-worked, out-hustled and out-coached. We got out-everythinged,” Luppes said. “They schooled us on how to play basketball. They shot the ball well and executed everything well.”

Hayden tried to close the gap with several small rallies in the second half, but never could sustain a push.

“We didn’t play well in any facet of the game,” Luppes said. “We didn’t shoot well. We didn’t rebound well, and we didn’t play good defense. I give them a lot of credit. They took us out of what we wanted to do.”

Saturday’s defeat was the Tigers’ last game until a Jan. 6 contest against Steamboat Springs High School’s JV squad.

Hayden girls unbeaten

It may not have been pretty but the Hayden girls basketball team enter its two-week holiday break with an impressive 7-0 record. The Tigers defeated Snake River, 48-38, on Saturday.

“It was ugly,” Tigers coach Eric Hamilton said about the victory. “I had no idea we’d have a ballgame at all. We only won by 10.”

Hayden overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win. Hayden senior Holli Salazar led the way with 21 points, and Kylee Sweetser added nine.

Hayden rallied and burst through a door Snake River left wide open with poor free-throw shooting. The team hit just two of its nine final-quarter attempts.

Still, there was little about the trip across the Wyoming state line that Hamilton enjoyed.

“We had a terrible week of practice and we were looking ahead to the Christmas break instead of thinking about Baggs,” he said. “I didn’t prepare the girls at all for this game. The whole week I was just preparing for a blowout. Sure won’t do that again.”

Hayden trailed, 36-35, at the start of the fourth quarter. A strong defensive performance in the fourth quarter from Caitlin Mahanna limited Snake River to just the two free throws.

“Mostly, we didn’t shine at all,” Hamilton said before assessing the bright side of winning an ugly game. “The girls are learning how, instead of losing a game, how to win one. They’re figuring out ways to get it done, how to hang in there, fight until the end and come up with a W.”

– To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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