Soroco High School’s Ben Strait has no where to go as he’s bracketed by Rangely defenders Friday night. The Rams lost the game, 72-58.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco High School’s Ben Strait has no where to go as he’s bracketed by Rangely defenders Friday night. The Rams lost the game, 72-58.

Soroco boys basketball clawed at home

Rangely Panthers sweep Rams boys basketball, 72-58

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Soroco's Pie Lombardi looks up the court to teammate Leif Carlson on Friday in a loss to Rangely.

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Soroco's David Strait puts a shot up Friday against Rangely.

— When the Rangely High School boys basketball team entered this season without the services of Patrick Phelan, who graduated last spring after a stellar career, the thinking was that the team was without a player who might require special attention on defense.

Caleb Templeton, a senior transfer from Grand Junction, proved that theory wrong Friday night. He exploded for 33 points — 23 in the first half — to lead his team past Soroco, 72-58.

“We just couldn’t find a way to stop him,” Soroco’s Michael Rossi said. “We have to get our heads into it and pick up our intensity. We have to get more confident because we’re not looking too sure of ourselves right now.”

Rossi helped the Rams keep things interesting through much of the game, working with teammates to at least temporarily neutralize the impact of Templeton, who accounted for nearly 75 percent of his team’s 31 first-half points.

Rossi drained two 3-point shots and scored 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter. Nic Paxton also hit a pair of early treys, and Ben Strait scored 6 in the second quarter, all allowing the Rams a 33-31 halftime lead.

The Panthers defense took over the game in the second half, however, tightening up on Soroco’s shooters and implementing a full-court press.

Soroco closed it to 6 in the fourth quarter with an AJ Anderson basket, but Rangely surged to put the game away.

“They were a lot faster than most of the teams we played, and their press really got into our heads,” Rossi said.

Leif Carlson led Soroco with 14. Paxton finished with 10.

Game statistics

RANGELY BOYS 72, SOROCO 58

Rangely 18-13-23-18 — 72

Soroco 17-16-12-13 — 58

Rangely — Kody Denney 2 2-4 6, Chas Byerley 3 3-6 9, Conner Phelan 0 2-2 2, Ethan Peacock 3 2-4 8, Cameron Enterline 1 0-1 3, Kacey Denney 5 0-0 11, Caleb Templeton 15 1-3 33. Totals 29 10-20 72.

Soroco — Michael Rossi 4 2-3 12, Ben Strait 4 0-0 8, AJ Anderson 3 0-0 6, David Strait 1 2-6 4, Leif Carlson 6 2-3 14, Pie Lombardi 1 2-2 4, Nic Paxton 3 2-6 10. Totals 22 10-20 58.

3-pointers: Rangely (4) — Templeton 2, Ka.Denney, Enterline. Soroco (4) – Rossi 2, Paxton 2.

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