Pride on the line

Soroco, Hayden to square off in rivals rematch

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— Their teams might be at the bottom half of the Class 2A District 5 standings, but when Hayden hosts Soroco's basketball teams tonight, records are the last thing that matter.

"Hayden al-

ways comes out hard," So-

roco's Bryan Spaeth said after beating Hayden 49-44 at their Jan. 9 meeting. "They whooped up on us in football, so it feels good to get them in basketball."

A win in the cross-county rivalry cuts deep.

When the Hayden girls came from behind to beat Soroco by a basket in the Jan. 9 game in Oak Creek, they were quick to point out how the win was sweet payback for a pair of one-point losses the year before.

The Soroco girls, on the other hand, struggled to hold back tears for a loss that coach Danelle Rivera could describe only as a "heartbreaker."

Soroco guard Glenda Long had a chance to send the game to overtime with a final shot. Long said her team is now prepared to head into Hayden, hitting on all cylinders after a confidence-boosting 77-51 win against Vail Christian on Tuesday.

"We have a chance to go into Hayden and stir up the whole league with the standings right now," Long said.

The Soroco girls are 4-9 overall. The Hayden girls are positioned closer to the middle of the eight District 5 teams at 6-7.

Soroco boys coach Sam McLeod said his team (3-9) needs a win against Hayden (3-10) tonight and against Rangely on Tuesday to secure a sixth-place seed at the district tournament Feb. 17.

"Usually (Hayden) slows down and grinds it out in half-court sets, but we have to respect that they showed us they could run the ball," McLeod said. "We played very sloppy though and didn't execute."

Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said his team also has made some adjustments based on the first game.

"They really push the ball, so we'll try to do some things to stop them," Baumgartner said. "It should be a good game, we're pretty evenly matched."

McLeod agreed, speaking for coaches and players alike: "It's going to be a tooth-and-nail battle."

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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