Soroco boys can't repeat Friday's magic in Saturday loss

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— Friday night, the Soroco High School boys basketball team just found a way to win, Rams coach Jake Eskridge said.

A day later, that will to win was there, but the scoreboard didn’t play in Soroco’s favor.

The Rams overcame a 12-point deficit at halftime Friday night at North Park — a team Soroco beat by 20 to open the season — to steal a 50-47 league win.

It wasn’t pretty, Eskridge said, but the combination of a hostile road environment and a much-improved North Park team nearly cost the Rams what looked like a sure victory.

“Good teams find ways to do that,” Eskridge said. “In the theme of the Olympics, style points only count in figure skating. It was ugly, but we found a way to get it done.”

Soroco’s Bjorn Carlson was the team’s leading scorer with 16 points while Matt Regan cashed in 15 of his own.

But even though things fell into place in the waning moments Friday, Eskridge’s Rams found themselves on the other end of the table Saturday afternoon against a battle-tested West Grand squad.

The teams were tied at 33 apiece heading into the fourth quarter Saturday, but West Grand used some timely three-point shooting to snag a 55-48 win against Soroco, despite Carlson’s 16 points, Ryan Jeep’s 15 and Regan’s 12.

“Both teams were playing well and they got hot in the fourth quarter and hit a couple threes that hurt us,” Eskridge said. “We missed some shots late in the game. They hit their free throws and that sealed it.”

The loss put a slight dent in Soroco’s district tournament plans. Mathematically, Eskridge said, the best the Rams can do is lock in the fifth seed, which would mean no home contest come playoff time.

The Rams, however, have played very few games this year that weren’t decided in the fourth quarter, a trait their coach thinks gives his team a bit of fearlessness when the district seedings are locked in.

“There’s not anybody we are worried about playing,” Eskridge said. “We’ve been in every game league wise this year. We still have some things we need to work on before we get to that point, but I feel like our goal since January was to get better every night.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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