Behind solid bench play, a scrappy defense and a commitment to making the extra pass, the Soroco boys basketball team defeated West Grand, 47-36, on Saturday.
Rarely do the Rams enter a game blind, senior Matt Cartas said. Coach Andy Smith usually has a scouting report to share before tip-off, but there was no preparation for the Mustangs this week.
All Soroco's attention was directed toward the Rangely game Friday, the night before the West Grand matchup.
While the Rams lost to the top-ranked Panthers, 35-69, Smith said Soroco played outstanding basketball and appeared to regain the edge it had earlier in the league season when it defeated North Park twice and lost a close one to Meeker.
Soroco carried over its solid play from Friday to Saturday afternoon.
"They were pretty upset about last week," Smith said of the two loses Jan. 23 and 24. "And with that comes the fire."
Eight players scored for the Rams in Saturday's win, led by Tony Iacovetto with 10 points, Cartas with nine and William Ford with eight.
More important, Soroco got 10 points and quality play from reserves Jack Means, Trevor Ellis, Denis Luark and Wade Ager.
"We came together and played as a team," Cartas said.
The Rams and Mustangs traded the lead throughout the first half, but West Grand appeared to gain some momentum when Travis Miller, who paced the Mustangs with 11 points, sank an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired in the second quarter.
But Soroco came in the third diving for loose balls and clogging passing lanes. Trevor Ellis' basket with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Rams the lead for good.
Soroco started to pull away mid-way through the fourth, turning a two-point lead into an eight-point lead in a little more than a minute off back-to-back lay-ins from Ford.
West Grand was forced to play a majority of the second half without senior guard Tyler Terryberry who picked up four fouls in the first half before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Terryberry was coming off a 20-point effort in Friday's loss to Hayden. Saturday against Soroco, he had just two points.
Saturday's nonleague win moves the Rams to 5-9 overall, but they stay 1-5 in the league.
Soroco returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday, when it will try to avenge an earlier loss to rival Hayden.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or email@example.com