If you go
What: Hayden versus Soroco girls and boys basketball
When: Girls at 7 p.m., boys at 8:30 p.m. today
Where: Hayden High School
Steamboat Springs Like riding a bike, the coaching mentality has never left Soroco High School Athletics Director Andy Johnson.
Johnson, who coached Rams basketball for 10 years before he took the athletics director job, will return to the sidelines when the Soroco boys basketball team plays at 8:30 p.m. today at cross-county rival Hayden.
"I'm having fun so far," said Johnson, who returns to coaching after a six-year hiatus. "The J.V. has been the main thing I'm responsible for."
As regular Rams coach Sam McLeod prepared for a wedding, Johnson told McLeod he'd fill in whenever he could. And with that wedding coming up on Saturday, Johnson will get his first taste of the Soroco-Hayden rivalry in half a dozen years.
"We're keeping it pretty much the same," Johnson said. "It'll be as if coach (McLeod) is there."
Although both teams have struggled a little bit early in the season, Johnson said tonight's match-up should be a game of contrasting styles.
Hayden features four players 6-foot-3 or taller. Soroco relies on an undersized team with no seniors.
"It's a big game. In the Sororo-Hayden rivalry game, both teams usually play very well," Johnson said. "Records tend to go out the window. It's who can do the little things better that usually wins."
Although the contrasting styles are at the forefront, a matchup of two of the best guards in the league also will be showcased.
Rams leading scorer Ryan Tibbetts and Tigers leading scorer Jordan Williams should be matched up all night.
"We can't let them rebound the ball two or three times, and we definitely have to take care of the ball and not make unforced errors," Johnson said. "We also have to keep Jordan Williams in check. If we don't do any of those three things, it could be a long night."
On the girls side, Soroco and Hayden will begin at 7 p.m. Both teams come in with winning records and a slew of returning starters.
"Yep, we're heading into the Tigers' den - size-wise it's going to look like the land of the Munchkins," Soroco girls coach Danelle Rivera said after Saturday's 44-40 win against Rangely. "But we have some definite strengths they're overlooking."
The games are the last ones played before both teams take off for the holiday break.