Soroco's Ryan Tibbetts goes to the hoop during a layup drill at Soroco High School Tuesday afternoon. Tibbetts, and the Rams, and looking forward to the teams opening game in just a few weeks.

Photo by John F. Russell

Soroco's Ryan Tibbetts goes to the hoop during a layup drill at Soroco High School Tuesday afternoon. Tibbetts, and the Rams, and looking forward to the teams opening game in just a few weeks.

Senior-free Soroco squad looks to spread floor, earn wins

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Boys basketball

Soroco 2007-2008 regular season schedule

Time TBA Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 De Beque Tournament

2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Vail Christian

7 p.m. Dec. 14 at North Park

4 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Rangely

8:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Hayden

7 p.m. Jan. 11 vs. West Grand

4 p.m. Jan. 12 at Plateau Valley

7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Rangely

7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Grand Valley

4 p.m. Jan 26 vs. North Park

7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Vail Christian

7 p.m. Feb. 1 vs. Meeker

4 p.m. Feb. 2 at West Grand

7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 vs. Hayden

4 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Paonia

4 p.m. Feb. 16 at Meeker

— One might think a Soroco boys basketball team without any seniors would be a little hesitant about jumping into Class 2A Western Slope League play.

But this year's Rams, bound together by youth and years spent playing together, think they are playing a stronger, more team-oriented brand of ball.

"I think we work better together," Robert Anderson said. "The team bonds together, too - we've all been playing together since sixth grade."

Since the last snap he took on Oct. 26 as Soroco's sophomore quarterback, Cody Miles sees the opportunity to step out from behind the shadow of the six graduated seniors that he played behind during his freshman campaign.

"Man, I'm excited," Miles said. "We've got some really good outside shooting and can also drive to the hoop."

Miles, at 6-foot-2, is the team's only returning starter. Six-foot sophomore Alex Estes was an occasional starter last season.

Soroco coach Sam McLeod said Miles most likely will line up at small forward while Estes will handle the ball as a guard. But don't let Estes' backcourt designation fool you.

"He takes it to the hoop as much as anyone in the league - he's got a 36-inch vert (-ical leap)," McLeod said.

From there, a core of seven juniors who have played for McLeod for his entire three-year tenure will carry the team. On the inside, McLeod has a pair of 6-foot-4-inch junior posts in Anderson and Bobby Mason to work with. Add to that the pure shooting ability of Ryan Tibbetts and the size and speed, respectively, of Mike Davis and Michael Schmidt, and McLeod believes he has a team that can help the Rams fit his definition of competition - "putting yourself in position to win every game, every night."

Drawing heavily from the ranks of a junior varsity team that went 11-4 last year and "has tasted success and learned how to win," McLeod doesn't see the team's youth as a hindrance as much as an opportunity to continue breeding winning attitudes.

"I think we're a more balanced team now," McLeod said. "We have guys that have showed they can play together with more cohesive play and team defense. : I'm excited and cautiously optimistic."

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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