Oak Creek The Soroco Rams boys basketball squad showed its youth on Tuesday night against the Little Snake River Rattlers, going down with a 59-47 loss. The Rattlers played a tough man-to-man defense, putting pressure on both sides of the court, while occasionally switching off to a full-court trap defense.
The in-your-face defense stalled the Rams, causing turnovers and forcing bad shots from the young team.
The Rams started out OK, trading baskets and finding themselves down only 17-8 after the first quarter.
But in the second quarter, the Rattlers extended their lead behind shots by Travis Weber and a basket by Warren Adams, making the score 23-8 after the first three minutes of the quarter.
Finally, freshman Jack Means stepped up for the Rams and hit a three-point basket to break the run.
After an Adams layup for the Rattlers, making the score 27-11, the Rams went on a run of their own. Behind shots by William Ford, Casey Means and Justin Spaeth, the Rams pulled within seven, making it 27-20. At the end of the half, the score was 29-20.
The Rattlers came out on fire in the second half, with Adams finding a soft spot in the Rams' 2-1-2 zone defense and driving in for layup and Weber finding another hole in the zone and hitting a five-foot jump shot.
The Rams stayed tight, though, countering with baskets by Spaeth and two three-point baskets by Brandon Himmerite.
At the end of the quarter, the Rams were down 43-33.
But going into the fourth quarter, Himmerite, who is probably the Rams' best player, picked up his fourth foul. The Rattlers then upped their lead to 51-37, creating turnovers and not allowing the Rams inside for a decent shot.
At 4:16, Himmerite fouled out, and any hope of a comeback went out with him.
The Rams lost 59-47.
Himmerite had his best game all year, as far as scoring, getting 23 points.
"He's doing a real good job," Rams coach Andy Johnson said. "He's doing some real good things and this was his best game, by far."
Himmerite, who is joined on the court with only one other senior and one junior, was happy with the team's performance even though it was a losing effort.
"We're young," he said. "But once we start playing league games, I think we'll be better matched up."
Jack Means also had 10 points, showing that some of the young guys can get the job done.
"All of our young kids did a good job," Johnson said. "They gave us great minutes."
Adams led the Rattlers in scoring with 21 points, followed by Weber with 17 points. The Rattlers bettered their record to 4-1 with the win.
The Rams don't have another game until Jan. 9, when they match up in their first league game against North Park at home.
Johnson said he hopes to get the first win of the year for his team that game, breaking their 0-6 record.