Soroco boys basketball team getting healthy

Miles, Lombardi hoping to return to lineup soon

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What: Soroco boys and girls basketball vs. West Grand

When: Today; girls play at 5:30 p.m., boys play at 7 p.m.

Where: Soroco High School in Oak Creek

Soroco High School boys coach Sam McLeod finally has a good problem to sort through.

After dealing with an injury-riddled season, his Rams team is getting healthy at the right time. Determining how to get everyone playing time will be the hard part.

Soroco plays at 7 p.m. today against West Grand, and the Rams have a shot at finishing as high as second in the district. The team also plays at 4 p.m. Saturday against Paonia.

Soroco hopes to get starters Cody Miles and Pie Lombardi back from injury, adding to a young but suddenly gelling team.

“We’ve got to figure out how to get them back in,” McLeod said.

Soroco, at 7-4 overall and 3-2 in district play, is coming off one of its best performances of the year against Plateau Valley.

Although McLeod isn’t sure how the district standings are going to shake out — or when exactly he’ll get Miles and Lombardi back — he said by next week he’ll have a better idea of where the Rams stand.

What’s known is that Meeker is alone in first place, and there are several teams battling for the No. 2 slot.

“I wouldn’t call it peaking yet,” he said about how the Rams are playing. “Next week, we’ll decide if we’re peaking. But if we can continue the way we’ve been playing, we can play with anybody.”

The Soroco girls also play a pivotal game against West Grand at 5:30 p.m. today.

Soroco, 5-5 overall and 1-2 in district play, finds itself in a near must-win situation. Paonia, the No. 1 girls team in Class 2A, comes to Oak Creek on Saturday. That game starts at 2 p.m.

“We’ve got to win one game,” Soroco girls coach David Bruner said. “We need to win” today.

Bruner said the key is to handle the pressure and contain the two teams’ inside scoring.

Should the Rams do that and keep improving, Bruner said he feels good about the approaching district tournament.

“Our girls had one of our best practices we’ve had all year,” Bruner said. “They’re getting better. We haven’t won that many games in years. These sophomores, they’re starting to turn into juniors.”

Tigers girls try to bounce back against Paonia today

The formula that led to a Thursday night loss for the Hayden girls basketball team at Little Snake River High School in Baggs, Wyo., was simple.

“We didn’t play good, and they played really good,” Tigers’ coach Eric Hamilton said.

He said his team was out hustled and out played throughout the night in the 50-36 defeat.

“We couldn’t do anything right,” Hamilton said. “I can’t figure it out.”

The team doesn’t have any time to get itself straight as today it faces perhaps its most difficult matchup of the season with a road trip to Western Slope powerhouse Paonia for a 6:30 p.m. game.

The teams last met in the semifinals of the Class 2A state tournament in the spring where Hayden was handed a decisive defeat. The Eagles went on to finish second in the state but appear to be on track to get another crack at the title after opening the season 12-1.

They’ve now won 10 consecutive games and outside their one loss have only allowed two teams to even come within single digits of pulling an upset.

“They’re deep and have eight or nine seniors that play, and they’re on a roll,” Hamilton said. “Our girls, though, they’re eager to play. We have to be super aggressive. I know we have the offense to get the job done. We just have to get it done on the defensive end.”

Hayden boys prepare for big game against Paonia

The Western Slope league boys basketball title might be sewn up. Barring a dramatic collapse, undefeated Meeker likely will cruise through the rest of the season and claim the banner.

That doesn’t mean the Hayden boys squad has had any trouble finding motivation for an 8 p.m. game today against Paonia, however. With a win tonight, then another next week against Soroco, the Tigers could wrap up second place.

“This is a really important game for us,” Hayden coach Mike Luppes said. “We both only have one loss in the conference, so whoever pulls this out will definitely be in the driver’s seat for second place.”

The Tigers are coming off a home loss Tuesday against Little Snake River in what Luppes labeled a flat performance. He said he’ll need to see more life from his team if they’re to survive the trip to Paonia

“Paonia is tough. They can really shoot the ball. If they get hot, they are really tough to beat,” he said. “We had been playing more and more complete as a team, but then Tuesday we really laid an egg. But that wasn’t a league game and playing Little Snake River made us a better team.”

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