Hayden, Soroco girls basketball teams set for tourney matchup

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— The Hayden and Soroco high school girls basketball teams are scheduled to play twice this season, once in January and again in February. Traditionally, those games are intense because of the rivalry in the stands and frequently close games on the court.

That makes the unexpected meeting of the Tigers and the Rams on Saturday at the Cowboy Shootout in Meeker an early-season surprise.

Soroco won Friday in Meeker and Hayden lost, setting up a showdown between the two teams at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Whether it will mean as much as those later games is unclear. Both squads are in the opening stages of making major replacements to their varsity rosters from a year ago.

“I just want my kids to go out and get better with every game,” Hayden coach Michelle Wilkie said. “We want to play a really good defensive game and work hard on the things we’ve been trying to implement.”

The Tigers and the Rams made that sort of progress Friday. After coming off losses in the tournament and season opener Thursday, both played better.

For Soroco, that showed in the form of a 39-38 victory against Nucla. Briana Peterson led the Rams with 14 points, and Jessica Rossi had 12.

Coach David Bruner said the best part of the victory was that it brought plenty of opportunity for lessons without adding a loss.

Soroco led by two points with about a minute to go, and the Rams learned what not to do in late-game situations.

“We were trying to hold the ball and spread it out, but we took 20-foot 3-pointers. We missed a couple of layups and missed free throws,” he said. “We talked about all of that after the game. The girls learned something.”

Hayden, meanwhile, improved upon its Thursday loss, though it fell to Meeker in lopsided fashion, 68-19. Kara Cozzens led the team with five points.

Defensively, the Tigers switched from man to zone defense, and that proved a help.

“We had a phenomenal first half,” Wilkie said. “The girls adjusted well, and gosh, they just did a great job. I was really pleased.

“In the second half, the girls let down a little bit, taking quick shots, but for the most part, I was pleased with how they played tonight. It was much better than (Thursday) night.”

2012-13 Tigers girls basketball schedule

2012-13 Rams girls basketball schedule

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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