Hayden, Soroco hoops ready for weekend

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If you go

What: Soroco girls and boys basketball vs. North Park

When: Girls start at 4:30 p.m., boys start at 6 p.m. today

Where: Soroco High School in Oak Creek

— The Soroco High School girls and boys basketball teams each look to make a district statement today when the teams welcome North Park.

The girls play at 4:30 p.m., and the boys follow at 6.

The Soroco girls previously lost at North Park by four points. Coach David Bruner said it was a game the Rams had every opportunity to win, but a second-half press cost Soroco the game.

Soroco turned the ball over 23 times against North Park, 14 of which came against the press.

“For us to have a chance, we have to turn the ball over less against the press,” Bruner said. “We’ve been working hard on defense, and it’s making sure we’re getting out in transition.”

Soroco is coming off of a 54-42 loss to Rangely, a game where the Rams were in it for most of the way but shot just 50 percent from the free-throw line.

Bruner said that the team continues to get better and that he expects a much better performance.

“We’ve made a few adjustments on defense,” he said, “but the girls are coming around.”

For the Soroco boys, it’s learning to play without star Cody Miles. Miles is out indefinitely with a broken hand. In his absence, coach Sam McLeod said recently that he’s still working on getting his lineup to gel. Against Rangely, Soroco was able to hang around in the first half, before foul trouble doomed the Rams.

McLeod said the team would have a much younger group out on the floor and that the key will be to establish post players Leif Carlson and Matt Watwood early.

“Leif and Matt have to play a predominant role in our offense,” McLeod said. “They have to contribute some of the scoring we’re missing there. We have to get established inside. That’s where our strength lies now.”

Hayden boys basketball preps for trip to Meeker

It’s no mystery what the Hayden High School boys basketball team is up against today.

Hayden plays at 7 p.m. at Meeker against one of the top Class 2A teams in the state. The Cowboys are 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the classification.

For the Tigers, who are coming off Tuesday’s double overtime loss to undefeated Baggs, Wyo., it will come down to a couple of things.

Hayden coach Mike Luppes said his team could match up with Meeker in terms of athleticism but that the finer points of the game will matter most.

“There are two keys,” Luppes said. “We have to rebound with them. One of our strengths is rebounding. Then we have to cut down on turnovers. When we play without turnovers, we’re very successful. But turnovers building up have been our Achilles’ heel.”

Luppes said the game should be a good barometer of where the Tigers are as they approach the beefy part of their district schedule.

He said winning is always the objective, but playing well means more at this point in the season.

“Win or lose, we want to play a real good game,” he said. “If we’re able to do that, it shows we’re a team to contend with. Hopefully we can come out on the top end of it.”

For the Hayden girls, a 6 p.m. showdown with Meeker continues a budding rivalry. Last season, the two teams met four times. Hayden won three of those, the last earning the Tigers third place at state.

“We had a very intense week of practice,” Hayden coach Eric Hamilton said. “The girls are excited to play Meeker. We played so many times last year they’re becoming a rival.”

Hayden will be without guard Jarah Woodley, who injured her knee and is out for the season.

Even with Woodley’s loss, Hamilton said he’s been impressed with the retooled lineup he’s assembled.

The key, he said, will be to use the Tigers’ press to create an uptempo game.

“We want to speed things up,” he said. “We need to use our quickness and come after them.”

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