Thursday, November 23, 2000
Steamboat Springs The Soroco Rams basketball squad will be more on the move this year than fans have seen in the past to make up for a lack of size in the paint.
Seventh-year coach Andy Johnson has 19 players out for basketball this year. Sixteen of those boys are freshmen and sophomores.
The Rams are returning one starter, senior Brandon Himmerite. But the team will have a strong starter in senior Matt Hayne, who was out sick most of last season.
"They're definitely the experienced players and they'll be the leaders for us on and off the court," Johnson said.
The Rams lost two potential senior starters because they both moved out of town.
Perry Means left the state and Will Redmond will be playing at West Grand High School in Kremmling.
That means the majority of the Rams team is young. And along with youth comes their size, which isn't much.
"We're not going to be post-oriented this year," Johnson said.
Though not very tall, the Rams should be fast this year.
Ball transition will be the key. Johnson wants to run a "controlled," fast-paced motion offense that breaks when it can in hopes to turn the game into a footrace.
"I think an up-tempo game will be in our favor," he said.
Johnson also may steer away from his favorite man-to-man defense and drop into a zone to try to stop the bigger teams.
The Rams will try to press more, if they can pull it off, in hopes of forcing a running game.
Despite the lack of experience and size, the Rams have one thing going for them.
"I think we have more depth this year than we have had in the past," Johnson said.
Last year, Johnson didn't have much to choose from on the bench. But when he looks down for a filler this year, most of the sophomores can do the job.
The Rams will be tested right away by facing Nucla High School Dec. 2 in the first round of a tournament in Debeque.
Nucla will be fresh off a playoff in football. Johnson said he expects Nucla to be rated in the state's top five in 2A basketball.
"We're going to see where we stand right off the bat," Johnson said.
Hayne, Himmerite, Casey Means, Justin Spaeth and Dustin Neelis are projected to be the starters for the Rams.
Johnson said North Park should be one of the teams to beat this year in the 2A Western Slope Conference.
"They're returning all their starters, so they'll be strong," he said.
Soroco ended its season last year with a 8-12 overall record and 5-7 in conference play. The Rams were seeded fourth at districts but lost in the first game of the tournament.