Oak Creek Soroco and Hayden girls basketball are two different teams in very different situations with the district tournament beginning next week, and it showed Friday night.
Soroco, which already has locked up the No. 4 seed in the district tournament with a home game Tuesday, methodically beat the Tigers with a flurry of offense, 72-48. The Rams improved to 14-5 for the second-straight regular season.
And Soroco has done it with a junior-loaded roster.
“A 14-5 regular season two years in a row, that’s pretty solid,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “And I only have one senior; that’s nice, too.”
The Rams scored 21 points in the first quarter and headed to the halftime locker room with a 39-24 lead. That lead quickly increased to 55-34 en route to the 24-point win.
As has been the case all year, Soroco senior Jacey Schlegel was dominant, scoring a game-high 22 points to go along with her 10 rebounds. Junior Jessica Rossi was equally impressive, also recording a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The Rams had six players score five or more points. Hayden was led by Taylor Hagar, who scored 19 points, and Chancey Graham and Kara Cozzens, who each scored seven.
“We’ve had three goals in double figures almost all year,” Bruner said. “It’s important for them to stay there.”
Bruner’s talented and young roster circled a team goal before the season began in December — that it would host the district tournament play-in game.
Bruner also said his squad wanted to do something that hasn’t been done in almost 10 years: make the district tournament when Soroco plays host.
“They made a goal at the beginning of the year that they wanted to play at home on Tuesday, so we’ve met that goal,” Bruner said. “But that’s not where we want to stop.”
Soroco will host West Grand on Tuesday for the right to make that home tourney. West Grand is a team the Rams dominated in league play this season.
Hayden, meanwhile, is looking at either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed, which will mean a date Tuesday at either Hotchkiss or Paonia, the top two schools in the district.
Hayden coach Michelle Wilkie stressed that her team needs to regroup by Saturday afternoon when it hosts North Park, a critical contest in more ways than district tournament standings.
“We need a win for ourselves,” Wilkie said. “We need that for the confidence piece to know they can play. This was one of our highest-scoring games, but we need to win.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll