Photo by Tamie Meck Taylor Katzer scores in the opening moments of play against Hayden. The Eagles lost to the WSL league-leader Hayden by a point, just one day after losing by a point to Soroco.It just doesn't get much more frustrating. The Paonia Eagles opened conference play with losses to Soroco and Hayden.
Both games were lost by a single point, and both games came down to the final seconds of play.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow," said head coach Chase Roeber. In the 71-70 loss at Soroco, "We played bad in the first quarter. Just couldn't get little power shots to fall. Soroco played hard."
Roeber said the team was leading the Rams by five points with 33 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Soroco shot a 3-pointer from about 24 feet out to trail by two.
Josiah Spano was fouled, but after hitting 5-5 from the line earlier in the game, missed his shot.
With less than 20 seconds on the clock, Soroco again sank a three. With less than three seconds remaining, the Eagles got off a final shot, and missed.
Jason Sturgis, Spano, Lane Clawson, Fransisco Lopez and Ben Linnell all scored double digits.
The final seconds of play weren't much different in Saturday's 67-66 loss to Hayden, said Roeber.
The game was tied at 64 points with a minute remaining when a timeout was called as Hayden lead scorer Paul Laliberte stepped up to the line after a foul. The crowd was on its feet and yelling. Following the timeout, Laliberte sank his free throw. Clawson answered with a two-pointer and was fouled. Clawson missed, and Hayden scored a quick two, taking a one-point lead with seven seconds remaining. Paonia got the ball, and Hayden stole a pass and was fouled with two seconds remaining.
Spano ended the game with 28 points, Taylor Katzer scored 12, and Sturgis ended the game with 10 points. Linnell, who was overcoming illness, scored five and fouled out after playing "great defense," said Roeber. "I can't complain about the way Ben played."
Hayden won its previous four games by a combined 118 points. Its closest loss was by 13 points to Hotchkiss on Friday.
The Tigers are ranked first in the 2A league with an 8-2 overall, 3-0 Western Slope League record; they are ranked ninth in state 2A competition.
"That was the best game we've played all year long," said Roeber. "I'm proud of the way the boys played. It showed us what we're capable of."