Hayden girls basketball leaves Plateau Valley in its wake
HAYDEN — The Hayden High School girls basketball team was having fun.
In the final minutes against Plateau Valley, seniors Alex Camilletti and Joey Deckler were cracking up. Deckler swatted a loose ball to Camilletti, who waited a few seconds before swinging it back inside to Deckler. Deckler bobbled the ball with a few Cowboys closing in, and with her empty hands flailing, she and Camilletti shared a laugh.
“We perform a lot better when we’re having a good time out there,” said sophomore Alison Rajzer. “I think, when we’re more serious, we get in our heads more. It throws us off a little bit.”
In a closer game, the blunder might have brought groans, but Tuesday’s home district quarterfinal game was not close. With lots of laughs and lots of scoring, Hayden defeated Plateau Valley 55-32 in the District 5 quarterfinal game.
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The Tigers were smiling from the very beginning, and for good reason. A 3-pointer from Camilletti gave the Tigers a 7-4 lead. The Cowboys added a free throw to the board before Hayden erupted on a 8-point scoring streak, ending the first quarter with a 15-5 advantage.
In the second, a 3-point play from Rajzer and a putback from sophomore Katerina Barnes brought the lead to 23-10.
“I think we were very motivated. We had really mentally prepared this week,” said Hayden head coach Lori Raper. “We had a practice late Saturday after we got back from Meeker, just to let the kids gel a little bit and kind of reflect.”
While the girls in orange seemed to enjoy every second on the floor, Plateau Valley was not having a good time.
When one of the Cowboys’ best players, Maddisyn Miller was called for a charge, she turned around towards her coach looking frustrated and bewildered. The freshman was giving all she had. It was her third foul of the game and her team’s 10th.
A 3-pointer from Tigers junior Lee Anna Nelson gave Hayden a 41-21 lead in the final seconds of the third. That allowed the starters to take a seat and bring in the bench players.
With less experienced defenders on the floor, Plateau Valley took advantage and put 8 straight points on the board.
When the starters returned, they bolstered the lead with back-to-back baskets from Rajzer. She ended with 13 points, while Camilletti led all scorers with 14 points.
Tiger freshmen Tessa Booco and Ema Schlim pushed the lead past 20 again in the final possessions.
With the win, Hayden earns a spot at the district tournament in De Beque this weekend and will face league-leading Meeker in the semifinals Friday, Feb. 28. The Tigers traveled to Meeker in their regular-season finale last Friday and fell 54-38.
Raper said one key to defeating Meeker is not fouling, since the Cowboys shoot 80% from the free throw line.
“We were in our heads in the Meeker game,” she said. “We needed to be more positive. We needed a lot more laughing. We needed a lot more support from the bench. And support from the community helped with that. If we can somehow bring that to De Beque, we definitely have a chance.”
Hayden 55, Plateau Valley 32
PV 5 7 9 11 – 32
H 15 14 12 14 – 55
Scoring: PV, Madison Clark 9, Maddisyn Miller 8, Cahlea Dennison 8, Macie Holmes 7. H, Alex Camilletti 14, Alison Rajzer 13, Joey Deckler 6, Lee Anna Nelson 5, Tessa Booco 4, Ema Schlim 4, Emma Seagraves 3, Hailee Smith 3, Katerina Barnes 2, Gracie Day 1.
- Dec. 6-7: Hayden at Manila Tournament, 1st 4-0
- Dec. 13-14: Hayden at Encampment Tournament, 2-1
- Dec. 17: North Park at Hayden, W 49-25
- Jan. 11: Rangely at Hayden, L 41-38
- Jan. 17: Paonia at Hayden, W 38-33
- Jan. 18: Hotchkiss at Hayden, 4 p.m.
- Jan. 23: Baggs at Hayden, 7 p.m.
- Jan. 24: Hayden at Soroco, L 65-43
- Jan. 25: Hayden at Plateau Valley, W 44-30
- Feb. 1: Hayden at West Grand, W 37-27
- Feb. 11: Vail Christian at Hayden, W 45-39
- Feb. 14: Hayden at Caprock, W 81-12
- Feb. 15: De Beque at Hayden, W 59-22
- Feb. 21: Hayden at Meeker, L 54-38
- Feb. 25: Plateau Valley at Hayden, W 55-32
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