Hayden The Hayden boys team is one game away from the state tournament.
The Tigers beat up on Longmont Christian on Friday night in the first round of the four-team regional tournament at Grand Junction’s Mesa State College.
Hayden won, 58-33.
“In reality, it wasn’t that close of a game,” Tigers coach Mike Luppes said afterward. “We played a very good, solid ball game.”
The win sets up a regional championship showdown for 12:30 p.m. today in Grand Junction against John Mall High School, which defeated Paonia on Friday.
“We’re expecting a really good battle,” Luppes said. “They have a big kid, Charlie Whitehead, who had a very good ball game against Paonia. He basically took control.”
Hayden got good games from a few big kids of its own Friday night.
Senior Murphy Smartt led the squad with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Junior guard Graig Medvesk dropped in 17 points. Rene Valdez, Dylan Sather and Ben Williams each scored 6.
Raul Valdez had 10 rebounds.
After trailing 2-1 through five minutes, Hayden got its offense started and never looked back. It led 11-2 after one quarter and 31-13 by the half.
The gap only grew in the third quarter as the Tigers allowed just three points.
“We did a really good job on the boards, especially in the second half,” Luppes said. “The kids, they’re pumped up tonight. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get them to go to bed.”
Today’s game will be aired live on radio station 550 KRAI. It also will be streamed live on the Internet at www.krai.com.
Hayden girls lose, 59-52, Friday; wrap up season
The Hayden girls basketball team wasn’t able to match the underdog run through the regional tournament that sent the Tigers to state a year ago.
The team lost Friday night in Grand Junction in its first-round game, falling, 59-52, to Hoehne.
“It was close, and we made a comeback at the end, but we needed a few shots to drop and they just didn’t,” Hayden coach Eric Hamilton said.
Delanie VeDepo hit four 3-pointers in the game. Rachel Koehler had 13 points and Erin Koehler scored 10. It wasn’t enough, however.
Hoehne put distance on the Tigers (15-8) thanks to a strong offensive rebounding performance and a great night from the free throw line. The team made 22 of 37 free throw attempts. Hayden made five of 16.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re already looking forward to next season,” Hamilton said.
“We thought we had a pretty darn good year. There just were a few games that didn’t go our way.”