Girls squad cites height, speed on defense as asset for winning

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— Roughly 12 hours elapsed between volleyball and basketball season for the girls at Soroco.

After dropping a postseason volleyball match to Plateau Valley in late October, the Rams who play both volleyball and basketball got a good night's sleep before picking up a basketball the next day.

"I'm extremely excited for this season," junior Hallie Shiner said.

Shiner is one of four starters back for the 2002 Soroco girls basketball team, leaving her and her veteran teammates optimistic about building upon last season's 7-12 campaign that saw the Rams finish .500 in league play.

Team chemistry and attitude on and off the court are characteristics Soroco feels will be its strengths this season.

Longtime coach Bob Johnson said seniors Meg Hayne and Jessie deGanahl have provided leadership exceeding anything he has seen in years.

"They set good examples in school and by getting along with their teammates," Johnson said. "No one is as dedicated as these two."

On Friday afternoon, Hayne, deGanahl and Shiner stopped moving for about 10 minutes to answer questions on what they hoped to accomplish during the 2002 season.

They all said it was the longest they've stood still since practice started more than a week ago. Johnson, entering his 13th year as coach of the girls program, is a firm believer in constant motion.

If the girls are always moving in practice, hopefully they will do it on the court. And because Soroco isn't blessed with size, execution of the offense and pressure defense will play a large part in the success of the upcoming season.

"We're short but we're quick," deGanahl said. "I think that's what helps us on defense. It's really the most important part of the game."

And anytime a player says that a coach puts a smile on his or her face.

Johnson said he would like to compete for a league title this season. North Park will be the team to beat, but he figures someone has to beat them and it might as well be the Rams.

Whether the Rams can meet Johnson's expectations, depends on a variety of things.

"We will have to execute better on everything," Johnson said.

Soroco opens the season at home against Vail Christian at 5 p.m. Dec. 3.

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