Hayden girls basketball ‘over-the-top excited’ for the season

Head coach Jeff Schlim advises the Hayden girls basketball team during a timeout during a game against Soroco on Feb. 11.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

With a strong leadership group of five mentally tough seniors and an experienced junior, Hayden girls basketball coach Jeff Schlim is excited to get the regular season started. 

Prior to becoming coach at Hayden High School, Schlim was the girls basketball coach for Hayden middle school where he worked with a lot of the girls he is with now. 

Schlim sees this as an advantage and believes knowing the girls and having a history with them has made his transition to the high school level very easy as he begins the second year of his tenure with the Tigers. 

One thing that impresses Schlim the most is his girls really want to build great relationships with their teammates. They have a mentality of playing every game like it is their last and those are the intangibles that cannot be taught. 

“They are all high-achieving student-athletes both in and outside of the classroom,” Schlim said. “They are very coachable girls who compete against one another in practice so we can all improve our game.”  

The Tigers finished last season with a 7-10 record and Schlim notes that a lot of that had to do with the challenge of staying healthy. That will be a big focal point for him this season as he prepares his team in practices. 

Schlim quickly learned last season that all games are a challenge and there is no such thing as a ‘gimme’ in high school basketball. With that being said, he is confident that even when his girls are out-matched from a talent perspective, they can still win games with their determination. 

He has highlighted to his athletes the importance of out-hustling and out-witting opponents and taking the season one game at a time. 

Jeff Schlim returns for his second season as the Tigers head coach and looks to the leadership of his veteran group for a trip to the playoffs.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Schlim says the girls are “over-the-top excited” for the start of the season and has seen that attitude throughout all practices. 

“Practices are good,” Schlim said. “We have a little bit of a range of talent from the top to the bottom but our leadership is really good with helping the younger girls come along. The younger girls, at the same time, want to challenge the upperclassmen.”

The Tigers play their first game of the year against Lotus School for Excellence on Thursday, Dec. 1. Schlim is confident his veteran players will help lead by example and set the tone for the start of the year. 

As far as preseasons go, Schlim says he would not change a thing. So far, his team is showing the drive to win and to get better each day. 

“We want to build a team that plays together while having fun at the same time,” Schlim said. “We want to practice hard so that we play hard come game time. Overall, our goal is to still be playing basketball in March and beyond the regular season.”

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