Strong third quarter pushes Vail Christian past Hayden girls
HAYDEN — Vail Christian scored 6 straight points to pull ahead 26-18 over Hayden High School in the first few minutes of the second half.
Hayden girls head coach Lori Raper called a timeout, but wasn’t able to calm the Tigers. Hayden endured a six-minute scoring drought while Vail Christian built a 28-18 lead. The tough quarter ultimately was Hayden’s doom, as they lost 47-34 on Friday at home.
“I think we settled into a rhythm,” said Vail Christian head coach Tim Pierson. “It’s kind of been an off year trying to get ready to go and into a rhythm. We have great senior leadership and a great host around them.”
The Tigers defense was persistent, but when they made a small mistake, Vail Christian took advantage. Emma Seagraves shut down a shot with a big block, but 30 seconds later, Saint Grace McCurdy used Seagraves’ aggressive style against her. When Seagraves reached toward the ball, McCurdy moved the other way, getting around the Tiger forward.
“Help!” yelled Seagraves, calling a teammate to her player, but it was too late. The Saint player scored.
Meanwhile, Hayden kept shooting, waiting for something to fall their way. Junior Alison Rajzer, senior Gracie Day and sophomore Tessa Booco put up attempt after attempt. None were wildly off. They just weren’t in.
“I don’t think the ball fell for us,” said Raper. “We were really cold on our shots, and we rely a lot on our guards. We have a lot of great shooting guards. We’re trying to change a little bit to have Rajzer go inside to be a strong rebounder.”
The few times the Tigers were able to move the ball under the net to Seagraves, they were able to score, but Vail Christian made that difficult.
In the fourth, the offense was back for Hayden, but it was next level for Vail Christian. Deep 3-pointers from senior Zoey Barela and Grace McCurdy extended the Saints’ lead 40-28.
“We just left them open. Too many easy shots early,” said Raper. “We put them on the line, they converted. Everything we didn’t do, they did well.”
Hayden kept the effort up until the very end, fighting for every possession. Following a Vail Christian inbounds pass, Tiger senior Lee Anna Nelson backed Saint Zoey Barela into a corner, where she stumbled and traveled. Hayden got the ball back with less than two minutes to go.
Nelson got the ball on the three-point line from Seagraves and drained a three, cutting the lead to 43-34.
Vail Christian 47, Hayden 34
H 11 7 7 9 – 34
VC 12 8 11 16 – 47
Scoring: VC, Grace McCurdy 19, Zoey Barela 15. H, Alison Rajzer 14, Emma Seagraves 6, Lauren Kirby 6, LeeAnna Nelson 3.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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