Tigers hoops loses to Rattlers | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers hoops loses to Rattlers

Girls raise money for cancer research

Delanie VeDepo brings the ball upcourt during Hayden's Game against the Little Snake River Rattlers on Tuesday night in Hayden. The Tiger lost to the Little Snake River Rattlers, 50-46.John F. Russell

The Hayden Tigers girls basketball team lost a heartbreaking game to the Little Snake River Rattlers, 50-46, at home Tuesday, but that didn't stop them from making a statement more important than the final score.

The Tigers used the game to raise money for cancer research as part of the nationwide Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. The team wore pink uniforms for the game, sold T-shirts outside the gym and will donate part of the money raised from admissions and concession sales. By halftime, the squad had sold 54 shirts and had a jar full of cash from donations. More important, the girls basketball team had captured the interest of the community and fans.

"I know a lot of people who have been affected by cancer, so it feels great to know that I'm helping them in a way I enjoy," Hayden junior Delanie VeDepo said after the game. "We just wanted to raise money for cancer research, and this was a great way to do it."

The game between the Tigers and the Rattlers, which looked like it might be a blowout early on, also turned out to be interesting. The home team fell behind, 28-19, at the half, but Hayden's defense held Little Snake River to just 4 points in the third quarter and set up a thrilling finish.

Erin Koehler led the Tigers with 16 points, and VeDepo came through with 15 of her own. On the other side of the court, Kelsey Kazmar fueled the Rattlers offense with 22 points, and Cora Foster added 7, including a basket in the final seconds that helped Little Snake River put the game away.

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Hayden trailed for most of the night, but VeDepo tied the game with the first of two free throws with just more than a minute left to play in the game. Then she gave the Tigers a 1-point lead by hitting her second shot.

"I just tried to calm myself down and sink them," VeDepo said.

But she said the Tigers didn't get back on defense after taking the lead and that the Rattlers quickly took advantage of the lapse. Foster took a pass under the basket and laid the ball in for the score. She was fouled while shooting and completed the 3-point play by hitting a free throw. The turn of events gave the Rattlers a 48-46 advantage the home team could not overcome down the stretch.

"I thought we played a great second half," Hayden coach Eric Hamilton said. "I thought the girls really hung in there and got us right back in the game. That's a really good ball team, and we hung right in there. … A couple of shots didn't fall in the end, or it could have gone either way."

Rattlers coach Jodi Stanley said she always enjoys coming to Hayden and that the Tigers were one of the toughest squads her 13-1 team has faced.

"We have had great games with Hayden the past couple of years," Stanley said. "They are the tallest team we have seen. I was proud of the way we came out and shot in the first half."

But Stanley said her team didn't shoot the ball well in the third quarter, and she felt lucky to get away with the win.

"They did a great job of getting back into the game and making it exciting," Stanley said. "We've got a really young team. I play a lot of sophomores, and we grew up a lot tonight, and that's going to help us down the road."

The Tigers, 9-4, next travel to North Park on Friday night.