Hayden girls beat Soroco to advance
Fouls were plentiful in the year’s final battle between cross-county rivals Hayden and Soroco.
In the first round of the district playoffs, the Tigers’ girls basketball team won 39-33, despite four starters fouling out — Alycia Boyd, Whitney Bell, Kim Medvesk and Jamie Waugh.
But the Rams fouled the Tigers just about as much.
“They were slapping our hands, and they weren’t high fives,” Hayden senior Millie Hellyer said. “You could see Sara (Sumerlin’s) jersey getting stretched out six feet, and they didn’t call it.”
Coaches from both sides said fouls were called too often, and in some cases, at the wrong times.
“I love Soroco games, though,” Hellyer said. “They’re so aggressive. It’s like a football game.”
The Rams got off to an early lead, but the Tigers got ahead at the end of the first quarter and led the rest of the game. Either team could have taken control, though. Both offenses struggled and often rushed shots.
“We got a little nervous out there,” Soroco coach Bob Johnson said. “You could see it in the girls’ faces.”
Soroco struggled to get the ball inside the paint and often opted for longer jump shots, which was not a successful strategy.
Kaleyne Gneiser led the Rams with eight points, followed by Katie Schalnus with seven points.
Hayden did manage to get the ball inside but was plagued with traveling calls, and the Tigers failed to capitalize on trips to the free-throw line.
Boyd led the Tigers with nine points and nine rebounds, followed by Waugh with eight points and six rebounds, and Hellyer with six points and six rebounds.
“Both teams played such good offense, it was hard to get the offense going,” Hellyer said.
Hayden led 18-13 at halftime, but the scoreboard would have read 31-18 if the Tigers sank their free throws.
Hayden extended its lead to 10 points in the third, when the Rams began a run. With two minutes left, they came within three points of the Tigers. Even though the Rams then had several opportunities — missed Tiger free throws and turnovers — they could not take advantage.
Last-minute free throws by Medvesk, Hellyer and Mariah Doolin, and a steal by Doolin with 30 seconds left, sealed the victory for the Tigers.
“The key was that we played as a team,” Doolin said.
Hayden coach Jayme Adams agreed.
“The bench pulled through for us,” she said. “That was a team game right there. Everybody played great to have so many fouls and not let that get to their game.”
The loss marks the end of Soroco’s season. The team finishes 10-9 overall and 5-3 in league.
Johnson said he and the team thought they could win this game against Hayden, as they have seen last-minute victories six times this season. “Hayden was just a little bit tougher,” Johnson said.
With the win, Hayden’s record improves to 6-13, 4-4, and the team stays alive in the playoffs. Hayden will travel to Grand Valley on Friday.
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