Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Back to basics. For Soroco boys basketball coach Andy Smith, that's the first priority with a squad that includes only five upperclassmen.
"With the youth of the team, what I'm doing right now is trying to form that base of knowing the basics of what we need to do," Smith said. "They are actually doing really well, but obviously we haven't been in a game situation. What I'm trying to do is get them pretty firm in the basics."
Senior sharpshooter Tony Iacovetto, the only returning starter from last season, will be asked to lead the Rams' offense. Several other players on this year's Soroco team have varsity experience, but few received quality game time in tough situations.
The four sophomores that Smith is counting on to assume prominent roles on the team have limited or no varsity experience. Helping them transition from junior varsity to varsity basketball will be key.
"They have playing time," Smith said. "They need to see what it's like on a varsity floor."
Soroco opens the season this weekend at the DeBeque Tournament, along with Plateau Valley, Nucla and DeBeque. The Rams then host Vail Christian and North Park in nonleague games before breaking for the holidays.
Smith hopes for a quick start in the next few weeks to help propel the team into a tough January schedule that likely will determine where league teams finish.
"The way our schedule looks right now, we have a great opportunity to being over .500 going into Christmas break," Smith said. "January will be a really, really tough month for us. We will have to put a lot of work in."
Smith pointed to one weekend in particular that he has highlighted -- for all the wrong reasons -- on his calendar.
On Jan. 27, Soroco hosts DeBeque. On Jan. 28, the team travels to Hayden and then turns around the next morning for an afternoon game in Paonia on Jan. 29.
"That's a rough weekend," Smith said of the three-games-in-three-days scenario.
Although DeBeque and Paonia aren't early picks to be near the top of the league, Hayden is. The same senior leadership and team chemistry that carried the Tigers football team to a Western Slope League title will carry the basketball team, Smith said.
"I honestly think Hayden is going to be pretty tough this year," Smith said. "Rangely will be good. They lost some guys, but I really think they have enough people there to fill it right back up."
What's left to be determined is where Soroco fits in among the league teams. The Rams open the league season at 7 p.m. Jan. 7 against Rangely.