The week ahead, and behind, in Routt County high school sports


Hayden boys basketball beat Soroco on Thursday, 65-45

What happened: Senior Paul Laliberte picked up exactly where he left off last season, scoring 24 points. He seems to be one game into an exciting season, and he helped lift the Tigers to a season-opening victory.

What does it mean: It may have been just the kind of opening game coach Mike Luppes wanted: Hayden won and looked good, but he won’t have any problem finding issues to bring up to help keep his team grounded.

What’s next: Hayden begins play Thursday in the Steamboat Shootout.

Soroco boys basketball (0-1) lost to Hayden on Thursday, 65-45

What happened: Soroco couldn’t hang with Hayden down low, or stop Laliberte from outside. The Rams hung tough into the third quarter, but the Tigers eventually proved too much.

What does it mean: The Hayden-Soroco boys basketball rivalry has lacked competitiveness in recent seasons, and on the surface, Thursday’s double-digit loss didn’t seem too different. The Rams came away with a few things to take confidence from, however. An injury to forward Ryan Jeep shifted other Rams out of position, magnifying the team’s lack of size. If Jeep can return soon, that could go a long way to making all the pieces fit together. It probably wouldn’t have been enough to change Thursday’s outcome, but it may be enough for a dramatic reversal after last year’s dreadful season.

What’s next: Soroco plays beginning Thursday in the Cowboy Shootout in Meeker.

Steamboat boys basketball (2-0) beat Roaring Fork, 46-33, and Basalt, 51-27.

What happened: The Sailors picked up a pair of double-digit wins. Carter Kounovsky led the team with 16 points against Roaring Fork, while Brodie King led with 11 against Basalt.

What does it mean: Steamboat is a young team, so starting off with two wins is huge. It’s also noteworthy that the Sailors managed to spread the scoring around. Against Basalt, 11 different players scored. Sure, it helps that the game got out of hand in the third quarter, but having multiple talented scorers is a good thing for a young team.

The Sailors will be tested in a big way this weekend at the Steamboat Shootout.

What’s next: The Steamboat Shootout begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. Teams will each play three games.

Hayden girls basketball (0-3) lost to Rangely, 34-15, Meeker, 69-19, and Soroco, 48-28

What happened: Hayden lost all three games at the season-opening Cowboy Shootout in Meeker.

What does it mean: It’s been quite awhile since the Tigers have had to endure a rebuilding project, but it appears that’s what may be in store for Hayden. Perhaps that’s the price of all the experience the team was able to trot out on the floor last year. Hayden struggled offensively over the weekend, averaging just more than 20 points per game. Last year’s squad averaged 54. The team is relying upon entirely new scorers, so even a little experience could go a long way.

Soroco girls basketball (2-1) lost to Little Snake River, 38-27, beat Nucla, 39-38, and beat Hayden, 48-28.

What happened: It’s always nice to add an early season victory over a rival, and the Rams got the chance to do that with a 48-28 victory Saturday over Hayden. Sure, the Tigers are adjusting to a new lineup, but so is Soroco. The Rams made clear they’re further along in the process.

What does it mean: Coach David Bruner said Friday’s one-point win against Nucla came with plenty of lessons. The Rams made mistakes in the final minute, essentially living through “what not to do in crunch time.” They still managed to pull out the win, however. Win and find things to improve upon — it can’t get better than that.

What’s next: Soroco plays Friday at home against Longmont Christian.

Steamboat girls basketball (2-0) defeated Roaring Fork, 41-36, and Basalt, 50-31.

What happened: McKenzie Repollo scored 37 total points in the two games to help lift the Sailors to a 2-0 start to the season. Steamboat simply overpowered Basalt, running away with the game after a slow first quarter. The Sailors had to hang on after earning a big lead against Roaring Fork, however.

What does it mean: Any wins are good wins for an inexperienced Sailors squad. Steamboat was shorthanded in the first two games of this season, so that makes pulling out two wins even sweeter. We’ll know a lot more about the team when it jumps into the Steamboat Shootout this weekend closer to full strength.

What’s next: The Steamboat Shootout begins Thursday.

Steamboat wrestling wrestled at Middle Park

What happened: Steamboat had four wrestlers crack the top three in their weight divisions at the season-opening meet in Middle Park. Cole Sittig was second in the heavyweight division. Nathan Parks, at 126 pounds, Dane Koepfer, at 145, and Brandon Yeager, at 182, each placed third.

What does it mean: Coach Shane Yeager’s diligent work building the Steamboat program is paying off with podium finishes. The Sailors team is growing bigger every year and improving through each season. Days like Saturday will become more regular.

What’s next: Steamboat will wrestle in Soroco on Saturday.

Hayden Wrestling wrestled at Middle Park

What happened: Kent Miller was third at 132 pounds, and Journey Vreeman was fourth at 152 pounds at Middle Park.

What does it mean: Hayden’s a beat-up team, at least for the moment. Its two top returning wrestlers, T-Lane Mazzola and Ryan Domson, are both out indefinitely with injuries. That took a little juice out of the team’s opening weekend, although Miller wrestled well and could be one of the next great Tigers.

What’s next: Hayden heads to Soroco for a Saturday tournament.

Soroco wrestling wrestled at Middle Park

What happened: Garrett McCuller placed third at 160 pounds, going 5-1 in an impressive high school debut.

What does it mean: Soroco got its two best performances from two of its newest wrestlers on Saturday. McCuller had four pins while Nate Regan went 2-2 with two pins.

What’s next: The Rams play host to their own tournament on Saturday.


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