Thursday, February 22, 2001
Steamboat Springs The Soroco Rams girls basketball team is in the position to be the spoiler in second round of the 2A district five tournament today by beating the league champs and making a bid to take the tourney.
Soroco entered the tournament as the fourth seed and beat fifth seed Grand Valley Cardinals, 35-32, last Saturday at home to advance to the second of three rounds in the tournament.
Now Soroco faces league champs West Grand, whose only loss in league play came at the hands of the Rams in a triple-overtime game Feb. 2.
As league champs, West Grand gets a free ride to the regional tournament March 3 in Grand Junction. If the team beats Soroco today, then the winner of the Hayden-North Park game also will go to regionals. The outcome of championship game would then decide who will have the No. 1 seed.
If Soroco beats West Grand, the final game in the district tournament will decide who will accompany West Grand to regionals and have the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
"We have to win two to move on," Rams coach Bob Johnson said.
Soroco worked in practice this week to stop West Grand's well-balanced offensive weapons, which is not an easy task.
Down low, West Grand features 6-foot senior Hannah Sheehan and senior twin sisters, each playing guard, Shonda and Jessica Brown.
"Those are the three girls we have to watch out for," Johnson said.
The Rams also will have to adjust to playing on the larger court at Steamboat Springs High School. Soroco's home court is considerably smaller and helps the Rams stop teams that like to run.
"We'll have to work hard to stop their fast break," Johnson said.
Soroco players also need to play a "better than average" game to beat West Grand for a second time, he said.
In their last game against the league champs, the Rams' Katherine Ford stepped up with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, despite having to take a cortisone shot to relieve a hurt shoulder. Ford didn't practice this week because of the shoulder injury but will play in the game today.
Point guard Sarah Broadbent also will have to step up. She had 24 points against West Grand last game, three of which came from a 3-point shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. But Johnson said point scoring from Broadbent won't be his primary concern.
"She has to lead the team," he said.
West Grand coach Maurice Knoll said he is expecting a tough game.
"Soroco always is ready to play us," he said. "It's hard to be confident when you've had so many games that have been close."
Though getting the free ride to regionals, Knoll said his team wants to win the district tournament for the No. 1 seed into regionals.
Soroco matches up against West Grand at 6:30 p.m. today at Steamboat Springs High School.