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Hoopsters hold on for league win over Rams

Melinda Mawdsley

Sometimes teams deserve to win, and other times, they get lucky. The Hayden boys fell into the latter category Feb. 6.

Hayden defeated rival Soroco, 47-41, despite a second-half effort that left coach Shawn Baumgartner and senior Jared Alpe thankful to leave Oak Creek with a league win.

The Rams outscored and outhustled the Tigers during the third and fourth quarters last Friday, holding Hayden to just 14 second-half points, including two in the third quarter. But the 16-point lead the Tigers were able to build in the first half sustained them through the Rams’ valiant comeback attempt.

“We were ready to go at the beginning,” Alpe said. “We figured we would come out in the second half and put them away.”

Not exactly.

In a rivalry game, it is customary for the team that is behind — particularly if it’s the home team — to make a run, and the Rams spent the third quarter getting back in the game, closing a 16-point gap to eight by the outset of the fourth.

After senior Kory Babcock’s 3-pointer and a series of converted free throws after ill-timed Tigers fouls, Soroco found itself within four points with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game.

The teams exchanged fouls and free throws before the momentum shifted back in the Tigers’ favor with 1:52 remaining.

Rams senior C.J. Remick went in for a layup and drew contact, but no foul was called. Remick, however, was whistled for a foul while trying to grab the loose rebound, prompting a reaction from him and a technical foul call from an official.

The Tigers failed to convert on the awarded free throws or next possession but did manage to take more than 30 seconds off the clock.

Two Trevor Ellis free throws pulled Soroco back to within six with 54 seconds left, but Hayden sophomore Keenan Bruchez answered those with two of his own, after he snuck behind Soroco’s defense and junior Chris Frentress found him for a lay-in with 38 seconds remaining.

Soroco’s Matt Cartas made a basket as time expired, bringing the final to 47-41.

“They wanted the game in the second half,” Baumgartner said of Soroco. “We didn’t handle their pressure well.”

Offensively, Alpe scored a game-high 12 points for the Tigers. Teammates Evan Hilling and Dustin Driscoll chipped in with eight and 10 points, respectively. For the Rams, Remick, senior Jack Means and junior Tony Iacovetto each had eight points.

Hayden traveled to Paonia on Feb. 7 and lost 43-55 in a game that was close until the fourth quarter. The Tigers are 12-5 overall and 4-3 in league play. Hayden returns to action at 8 p.m. Friday against top-ranked Rangely in Hayden.


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