Steamboat Springs Beating the rival that dominated the matchup for years is nice, but Soroco High School boys basketball’s goals go well beyond knocking off Hayden twice in a six-day span.
Rams coach Jake Eskridge thinks this group can do special things, and the momentum from Soroco’s 69-29 win over Hayden Friday night is just what the team needed with a three-week break starting today.
“We just played them six days ago,” Eskridge said. “They’re happy to get the win and beat Hayden, their rival, but we understand that our goals this season are more than winning four games.”
With Hayden bottling up Rams' leading scorer Ryan Jeep down low, Eric Logan poured in 28 points, a week removed from dropping 26 on the Tigers.
“Hayden did a very good job inside against Ryan, who is our go-to guy,” Eskridge said. “They held him to 12 points, our second-leading scorer, Friday. They took care of Ryan, and it forced us to step up and shoot.”
It’s a feeling many players on the Rams roster aren’t exactly accustomed to. After starting last season 1-4, Soroco is 4-1 heading into the break. Eskridge said the expectations are as high as ever, but being OK with the start just five games into the season isn’t good enough.
“If you’re just happy with what we’ve done so far, we need to call it in,” Eskridge said.
On the other bench, injuries have taken their toll on the Tigers, with another player going down with dehydration Friday. Hayden once again was paced by senior Dan Engle’s 19 points, and Hayden coach Mike Luppes hopes to have some injured players back after the holiday layoff.
It’s a bit of a role reversal from seasons past, when Hayden was the top dog, consistently beating Soroco year after year. The Rams finally have the size and outside shooting to contend for a league championship, and Eskridge is excited about his team’s prospects with the meat of the schedule ahead.
“I think they realize that the sky is the limit for us as we move forward,” Eskridge said. “Again, it’s all based on us.”
Soroco will play South Park on Jan. 10 at 4:30 p.m., and Hayden will host West Grand the same day at 8:30 p.m.
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll