Slowik leads Tigers boys basketball in win over Paonia |

Slowik leads Tigers boys basketball in win over Paonia

Hayden junior Hunter Slowik has the patience to let a Paonia defender fly by him before taking a shot during a home game against Paonia on Friday, Jan. 17.
Shelby Reardon

HAYDEN — Hayden High School junior Hunter Slowik showed patience.

With his toes in the paint, he twitched like he was about to shoot, so Paonia junior Braden Lewis went flying by him and out of bounds. That’s when Slowik actually shot the ball, putting his team up 22-10. A few minutes later, he did it again. the junior hesitated just long enough for his defender to get out of the way, but not long enough for anyone to swoop in and cover him.

He led the Tigers with 14 points in a 47-42 home win over Paonia on Friday, Jan. 17.

Slowik said he knew the defenders were closing in on him on both occasions, so he waited to see if he could get a better shot.

“I’m a little shorter, and they always want to get a good block,” said Slowik. “I can see them, I can feel they’re right there.”

Hayden started with energy and speed to develop a 15-7 lead in the first. A 3-pointer from senior Reese Kern kept the momentum going to begin the second. A late three from junior Liam Frentress pushed the advantage to 10 points, 29-19.

“We tried something new for pregame, and we came out feeing good,” said Slowik. “Me and Liam started to hit shots and it went from there.”

Hayden senior Reese Kern takes a shot from 3-point range during a home game against Paonia on Friday, Jan. 17.
Shelby Reardon

The Tigers lead dwindled to 2 points in the fourth. A bank shot from Kern bumped the lead to 4 points, 44-40 with 1:42 left to play.

The Eagles surge started in the third. Paonia pressured shots, so few fell for the Tigers. Paonia outscored the home team 9-8 in the third and 12-10 in the fourth.

“We played an excellent first half,” said Hayden head coach Mike Luppes. “The second half, I don’t know, we still had intensity and energy. Our offense just became stagnant.”

Kern hit a big 3-pointer in the fourth that got the bench and crowd going, but it still wasn’t enough to wake up his team’s offense. Eagles junior Logan Green answered with four straight points, bringing the score to 42-37.

With 3:12 left, the teams huddled on the sidelines and Luppes addressed his team.

Hayden junior Keaton Knez scores during the first half of a home game against Paonia on Friday, Jan. 17.
Shelby Reardon

“Be smart with the basketball,” he said. “We were hurried a couple times, put up some not very good shots. Defense, we had fouls that weren’t very good. They threw a press against us, we just have to play smart basketball.”

The Tigers clung on and used a few free throws to stay ahead and earn the win. Luppes said it was a huge step up from the team’s last game, a 66-51 loss to Rangely.

Hayden moves to 4-5 overall and next hosts Hotchkiss on Saturday, Jan. 18.

Hayden 47, Paonia 42
P 7 14 9 12
H 15 14 8 10
Scoring: H, Logan Green 14, Kyle Long 6. Hunter Slowik 14, Liam Frentress 14, Reese Kern 13, Angel Valdez 4, Keaton Knez 2. Fouls: P, 17. H, 18. FTs: P, 10-23. H, 6-13. Steals: H, Slowik 6. Assists: H, Slowik 5. Rebounds: Frentress 13.

Hayden boys basketball schedule:

  • Dec. 6-7: Hayden at Manila Tournament, W vs. Dugway 59-51, L vs. IMC 88-32, L vs. Manila 65-35
  • Dec. 13-14: Hayden at Encampment Tournament, 1-2
  • Dec. 17: North Park at Hayden, W 42-38
  • Jan. 11: Rangely at Hayden, L 66-51
  • Jan. 17: Paonia at Hayden, W 47-42
  • Jan. 18: Hotchkiss at Hayden, W 43-40
  • Jan. 23: Little Snake River at Hayden, L 67-38
  • Jan. 24: Hayden at Soroco, L 58-52
  • Jan. 25: Hayden at Plateau Valley, L 61-18
  • Jan. 31: Vail Mountain at Hayden, L 49-27
  • Feb. 1: Hayden at West Grand, L 55-35
  • Feb. 11: Vail Christian at Hayden, L 70-55
  • Feb. 14: Hayden at Caprock, L
  • Feb. 15: De Beque at Hayden, L 58-46
  • Feb. 21: Hayden at Meeker, 4 p.m.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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