Saints use 3-pointers to run away with game against Hayden
HAYDEN — The Vail Christian boys basketball team weathered the storm on its way to Hayden, and Hayden High School had to weather the Saints once they got there.
Vail Christian used six 3-pointers to build an 18-4 lead in the first quarter and rode that momentum all the way to a 53-34 victory on Friday night.
The Saints were led by their outside shooting. Junior Vincent Nowicki opened the game with back-to-back shots from deep, followed by one from junior Leo Rothenberg and one from sophomore Quinn Downey. Nowicki added another, as did Theo Moritz.
The onslaught could not be stopped. The Saints had no problem moving the ball around Hayden’s defenders. Usually, just two passes was enough to find a wide-open player who then scored.
By halftime, Vail Christian developed a 29-8 lead.
“(The Saints) were 3-for-30 at the three-point line against Moffat County, 2-for-11 against Rangely on Tuesday night. We just didn’t expect quite the barrage that came out early, right away” said Hayden head coach Mike Luppes.
Hayden scored more points in the fourth quarter than they did the rest of the game.
Senior Liam Frentress and junior Logan Morrison hit 3-pointers, as did senior Andrew Kleckler. Frentress netted seven of his team-high nine points in the final quarter. Senior Angel Valdez added a bucket along with senior Dustin McLaughlin.
The offensive uptick started towards the end of the third. Well-timed passes found seniors Ty Blackwell and Hunter Slowik for back-to-back 3-pointers. Their buckets made the score 38-14 with a minute left in the third quarter.
If Vail Christian hadn’t developed such a huge lead, the final quarter would have been an entertaining shootout as the squads took turns scoring from behind the arc.
Luppes isn’t entirely sure why the shots started falling in the fourth, but is happy they did.
“We had offense in the first half, we just couldn’t make shots,” he said. “We had a lot of good looks, a lot of good shots. They weren’t going in. Our effort was good, our aggressiveness was good. Defensively, for as many three’s as they were hitting, 29 points isn’t a bad half. We could have been there with them if we hit any percentage of our shots.”
Additionally, Valdez was a tank on the boards particularly on the defensive end. The big-bodied senior was in most of the game, wiping sweat off his face with an orange towel during timeouts.
Frentress was always ready to dash back to the defensive end and guard a breakaway shooter, earning an impressive block in the second half.
Vail Christian 53, Hayden 34
H 4 4 6 20 – 34
VC 18 12 14 10 – 53
Scoring: VC, Vinny Nowicki 13, Leo Rothenberg 10. H, Liam Frentress 9, Ty Blackwell 7, Hunter Slowik 6, Andrew Kleckler 5, Logan Morrison 3, Angel Valdez 2, Dustin McLaughlin 2.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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HAYDEN — It’s been said by athletes and coaches alike that the Soroco-Hayden rivalry has dissipated in recent years.