Oak Creek Call it a bounceback victory or simply an easy filler in the win column.
Either way, Soroco High School boys basketball needed to avoid slumping below .500 on Friday night this close to the looming district tournament.
Taking on a De Beque squad Friday seemed about the best route the Rams could take to get to 9-8 on the season. The Dragons came into the contest winless in 2A/1A Western Slope League play and had just three wins total on the season.
So Soroco took care of business, scoring early and often en route to a 64-26 victory at home Friday.
The formula was simple: feed senior big man Ryan Jeep the ball inside and let him go to work with his obvious size advantage at 6-foot-5.
Jeep’s presence down low helped the Rams jump out to a 15-9 lead that eventually swelled to 32-17 heading into the locker rooms at halftime. Jeep poured in 14 of his game-high 20 points in the opening two quarters and snagged 10 rebounds of his eventual 16 by the break.
And after halftime, when De Beque threw all it could at Jeep, the Rams closed things out on the perimeter, using hot shooting from sophomore Warren Hayes and quick lane drives from fellow underclassman Storm Veilleux.
Soroco outscored De Beque, 32-9, in the second half.
“Everyone tries to take Ryan away,” Soroco coach Jake Eskridge said. “We know that coming into every game. The difference really has been our outside shooting tonight to pull them off of him. Once we got Ryan going, we got it going good.”
The fill-in duty Hayes and Veilleux has provided Eskridge a welcome surprise this late in the season. Hayes picked up eight points and Veilleux pitched in another 11
for the Rams. Sophomore Eric Logan proved to be another offensive threat, scoring 13 points and grabbing six boards in the win.
With senior leader Matt Regan sidelined for the night, the sophomore trio provided a backcourt spark to help complement the play of upperclassmen such as Jeep and senior Bjorn Carlson, who had six points.
“It’s fun. I really enjoy playing with the older guys,” Hayes said. “It gives you a step up and you don’t feel excluded with them.”
Against De Beque, the Rams snapped a two-game skid after falling to West Grant by seven in a critical league matchup last week and Rangely on Thursday night in a non-league game.
And there is no break for Soroco, which again plays this afternoon at Plateau Valley, which is just 2-12 in 2013-14.
“It’s not easy playing three straight nights, especially this time of year where thing are getting important,” Eskridge said. “But they’re still high school kids and they need their games.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll