Hayden boys beat North Park in first game back since quarantine; girls can’t find their groove
HAYDEN — Seven straight points from Hayden senior Andrew Kleckler made all the difference for the Tigers on Friday night.
His first basket tied the game at 13 against North Park and the remainder helped Hayden develop an advantage that turned into a 55-35 win.
“He’s got a hurt foot, he’s not 100% right now,” head coach Mike Luppes said of Kleckler. “Andrew had a great game. We moved the ball much better offensively than we have before. So hopefully that’ll continue.”
The Tigers found each other with fast passes and slick assists as if they hadn’t spent the last two weeks apart due to the school quarantining. On offense, the boys moved fast but took their time all at once. They almost never stopped moving the ball, but would continue to do so for a few minutes until they found the right shot.
When the opportunity presented it, they’d take advantage of breakaway points, the Hunter Slowik and Liam Frentress specialty. The pair are particularly good at forcing turnovers or stealing the ball and turning it into points on the other end.
Frentress led Hayden with 18 points, while Kleckler added 15 and Slowik scored eight.
The Tigers combined for 18 points in the second quarter to lead 22-16 at the break. They continued that momentum into the third, scoring 13 consecutive points, developing a 35-16 lead. North Park scored just four points in the third.
“This whole season we’ve come along as a team chemistry-wise,” said Kleckler. “All of us on the team, we’ve grown together. It was a little bit of a struggle having a week off. We just had good chemistry tonight.”
The victory was the team’s second of the year and its most dominant.
“I think it’s a good reentry point,” said Kleckler. “It’s a nice reentry and a confidence booster, so hopefully, we can keep it up.”
‘Not getting the job done’
The Hayden girls basketball team last saw each other in a game on Saturday, Feb, 6.
Part of the varsity team came back from quarantine Tuesday. The rest returned Friday. Reunited, the team couldn’t gel, falling to North Park 51-39 Friday night.
Head coach Lori Raper isn’t allowing the quarantine to serve as an excuse though.
“We got out-rebounded, we got outplayed, we got out-hustled. We seemed flat,” she said. “I thought we were in a good place before quarantine, but we’re just not getting the job done. I don’t blame it on quarantine. North Park, they played well.”
Hayden senior Gracie Day was one of a few varsity players to return on Tuesday and was the only starter. She did everything she could to get ready to play basketball again after the unintended hiatus.
“I was thinking I got to get my players back. I want to be there for them,” Day said. “I have to play the best game I can play and pick up for them but also trust them and allow them to do their job as well. … I don’t think we were all prepared.”
Hayden and North Park kept pace with each other through the first half with the Wildcats leading 24-22 going into the third. Five straight points from Day kept it close but North Park started pulling away.
North Park’s Paige Sanchez led all players with 22 points. Day and sophomore Emma Seagraves led the Tigers with 10 points each.
Even with Hayden’s struggles and 2-4 record, Day still has high hopes for the team.
“Last year we went to regionals and lost in overtime, so I want to get there again,” Day said. “For a lot of my players, I think they think it’s out of reach, but to me it’s not. I think that’s where we have to change their mindset.”
Hayden 55, North Park 35
NP 7 9 4 15 – 35
H 4 18 17 16 – 55
Scoring: NP, Ramsey Montgomery 10, Troy Gonzalez 8. H, Liam Frentress 18, Andrew Kleckler 15, Hunter Slowik 8, Ty Blackwell 5, Grady Frentress 5, Angel Valdez 2, Brayden Dale 1, Logan Morrison 1.
North Park 51, Hayden 39
NP 8 14 16 12 – 51
H 8 6 12 11 – 39
Scoring: NP, Paige Sanchez 22, Kaylee Carlstrom 13, Dezirae Gonzalez 11. H, Gracie Day 10, Emma Seagraves 10, Alison Rajzer 6, Lauren Kirby 4, B Simones 4, Tessa Booco 3.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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