Rams play fast and furious

Despite lack of size, girls basketball squad focuses on tempo

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Soroco girls basketball, 2008-09

— Attend a Soroco High School girls basketball practice, and you might think first-year Rams coach David Bruner is getting a head start on the track season.

But Bruner - who takes over the basketball program after coaching the football and track and field teams for the past couple of years - realizes that if the Rams want to be successful, conditioning will be at a premium.

"Our strengths are our speed and quickness," Bruner said. "We're going to use our quickness to press and play defense full court."

Because of a lack of size - the tallest Rams player is 5-foot-9 sophomore Ceanna Rossi - Bruner said Soroco must play an up-tempo type of game.

With returning guards Sarajane Rossi and Traci Schlegel adding to a talented group of freshmen, Bruner said, it should be interesting to see how the Rams come together.

"I expect them to play hard," Bruner said. "They'll be a lot more fun to watch. We're young, so we'll make some mistakes. The first six or seven games, it's going to take a while to get used to the system. After Christmas, when league play starts, I think we'll play hard and really start to compete."

The Rams season might come down to how quickly they pick up Bruner's new schemes. Judging by past results, Bruner is likely to be successful.

He brought in Amber Whitlock as an assistant coach. Bruner coached Whitlock at Prairie High School in Weld County.

During their four years together, the Mustangs went 92-11.

"I think a lot of it is keeping the girls positive," Whitlock said. "They have to know their bodies can do a whole lot more than they think, both mentally and physically."

The changes to an up-tempo and fast style of play have been evident to all of the players. Despite some inexperience in the depth chart, the change in philosophies has been well received.

"We're running like it's track season," Schlegel said. "But we're used to coach (Bruner's) style. It hasn't been a big change since we had him in track."

Although expectations might be limited because the Rams have finished at the bottom of the league the past four years, Bruner knows this year's team has a chance to open some eyes.

"I expect us to compete in every game," Bruner said. "As long as we're competing, I'll be happy."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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