You must go back to the 2012-13 basketball season to note a winning record for the Hotchkiss girls basketball team. Josh Kaspar had the Bulldogs rolling with a 6-3 league record and 14-9 overall. Hotchkiss finished third in District 5 with a 40-38 win over Rangely. The Bulldogs were eliminated from the 2A state tournament after a loss to Limon in regional play at NJC.
Haillie Taylor's tenure at the helm of Hotchkiss's program began in 2016-17 with a record of 3-8 in league play and 6-13 overall. This year's marks are 7-4 and 15-7.
The Bulldogs finished third in this year's 2A District 5 and placed third in district tournament play in De Beque this past weekend.
Hotchkiss's fate in regional pairings has yet to be determined due to late games, caused by severe weather, in district tournaments at various sites in the state. Regional pairings are scheduled to be released by Tuesday, Feb. 26. Interested fans may see those pairings at CHSAANow.com.
2A District 5 Girls
HHS 63, Hayden 48
The Bulldogs hosted sixth place Hayden, 4-7 and 13-10, last Monday, Feb. 18 in a first round contest in Hotchkiss. The Bulldogs started strong with a 32-18 first half and held off the Tigers for a 63-48 win with a 34-30 second half.
Carson Collins had 17 and Shay Glaser 11 counters to lead Hotchkiss. Hayden's Gracie Day scored 21 points to lead all scorers in the game.
Soroco 49, HHS 47
Hotchkiss was the stronger team in the first half with its offense generating 23 points in the first half while its defense allowed 19 points for the Rams (No. 2, 9-2 and 18-4).
Both teams struggled with possessions and had multiple turnovers and miscues throughout the game. Hotchkiss scored double digits in each of its second half quarters, but the defense could not stymie the Ram's offense in a 30-24 second half battle.
Glaser had seven of her team-high 17 points in the second quarter with teammates Vazquez and Collins contributing nine points each.
Soroco's Chloe Veilleux shared the game's top scoring numbers with 17 points and Rams' teammate Kayla Wilke chipped in 11 to give Soroco two players with double digit scoring.
HHS 55, Rangely 40
These two teams met on Jan. 26 at Hotchkiss High School. The Bulldogs were winners in that first meeting, 58-43, and nearly matched those totals with their 55-40 win in last weekend's third-place match up in the 2A District 5 tournament in De Beque.
Rangely (5-6 and 10-12) wasn't thinking offense in the first quarter and fell behind 18-9 after one quarter. The Panthers found some rhythm on offense in the second frame and closed the gap on Hotchkiss with a 14-12 advantage to trail 30-23 at halftime.
A 14-6 fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs a 15-point win, 55-40, after each team scored 11 points in the third period.
Elsie Vazquez sparked Hotchkiss's victory with 21 points and Collins chipped in an additional 14 for the Bulldogs.
Hannah Wilke had 20 points for Rangely and Skylar Thacker finished with 13.
When asked about this year's team, Coach Taylor responded with, "It's very exciting not only for me but especially for the girls. They have worked so hard this season and definitely are earning every game. I would have to say our guard-post offense has really helped make us a threat. Our guards (Kaiya Firor, Elsie Vazquez and Shay Glaser) have really stepped up their outside game and shooting to create that double threat of inside, with Carson (Collins) and outside with the guards."
Taylor was quick to give praise to the other side of the ball as well. "But, without solid defense you can't win them all. The girls have given everything to have the best defense they can every game, and it shows how much they want to win in their defensive game."
The next step for the Bulldogs is unclear and Taylor knows her team is at the mercy of the selection committee. "We will be coming in as a 'teen' in the RPI and expect to be traveling, but we hope not to the other side of the state."