Rams manage to sneak by pesky Sailors

Soroco tops JV team

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Soroco boys basketball, 2008-09

— Those looking to see what makes the Soroco High School boys basketball team so successful should just look at Tuesday's game against the Steamboat Springs junior varsity.

But those looking to see where the Rams might struggle could also look at Soroco's 46-41 win.

The Rams (4-0 overall) showed why they can be so dangerous when their defense turned turnovers into a transition game that utilized their athleticism. But Soroco struggled when Steamboat was able to slow the game down and make the Rams into a halfcourt team.

"You could see that we're not real comfortable running halfcourt sets," Soroco coach Sam McLeod said. "We have some big guys that aren't necessarily ball handlers on the perimeter. But they're fast, so we need to get out and run. But this is a good lesson for us. I knew it was going to be a tough game for us. Steamboat's extremely skilled."

Early on, Soroco looked like it would run away with the game. Rams senior Ryan Tibbetts scored the first 10 points of the game before the Sailors finally woke up.

Steamboat - behind the deep shooting of Alan Capistron - closed the gap to 14-10 after the first quarter.

The Sailors continued their hot streak from the 3-point line in the second quarter. Steamboat hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and took a 24-21 lead into halftime.

But in the second half, the Sailors started to turn the ball over and struggled to find any offense inside the 3-point line.

The Sailors had a 27-23 lead at the 5-minute, 39-second mark in the third quarter before the Rams got their transition game going.

Soroco finished the quarter on a 14-3 run to take a 37-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

"It's tough," Steamboat coach Cody Sherrill said. "In our practices, six of them are in the varsity practice and six are in the younger practice. It's going to take some time and that's something that will get better as the season goes on."

Steamboat hit 10 3-pointers in the game, but only four 2-point field goals. The Sailors also went just 3 of 10 from the free throw line.

Still, the Sailors made another comeback and made sure the game wasn't over until the final buzzer sounded. Soroco missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 17 seconds left in the game and a 44-38 lead. Capistron hit his fifth 3-pointer of the night to cut the lead to 44-41, but Rams guard Alex Estes hit two free throws with 4.1 seconds left to seal the win for Soroco.

"They got tested, and they at least did what they had to do to win the game," McLeod said. "That's what I expected. I knew it would be a tough game."

Tibbetts led all scorers with 24 points. Capistron led Steamboat with 15, while sophomore Justin Anderson added 13.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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