Hayden senior Isaac Bridges and the Tigers will head to Rangely on Tuesday. Winners of four straight games with just five players in uniform, Hayden bumped up to the No. 6 seed.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Hayden senior Isaac Bridges and the Tigers will head to Rangely on Tuesday. Winners of four straight games with just five players in uniform, Hayden bumped up to the No. 6 seed.

Soroco girls host Tuesday; all other 2A teams travel for district tournament's 1st round

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— For all Soroco and Hayden boys and girls basketball teams, it’s win Tuesday or pack it in for the season.

2A District 5 playoffs

Tournament play-in games Tuesday

Soroco boys

No. 7 Soroco at No. 2 Paonia, 6:30 p.m.

Soroco girls

No. 5 West Grand at No. 4 Soroco, 5 p.m.

Hayden boys

No. 6 Hayden at No. 3 Rangely, 6 p.m.

Hayden girls

No. 7 Hayden at No. 2 Paonia, 5 p.m.

District tournament at Soroco High School semifinals Friday

Boys: 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Girls: 3 and 6 p.m.

District tournament at Soroco High School finals Saturday

Boys: 3:30 p.m.

Girls: 2 p.m.

And with Soroco hosting this weekend’s district tournament for the first time in almost a decade, the Rams want to be there as bad as anyone.

Of the four Routt County 2A District 5 boys and girls basketball teams, the Soroco girls drew the best seed at No. 4 and will host West Grand at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Soroco girls are the only team of the four hosting a District 5 tournament play-in game.

“We were in a different situation last year,” Soroco girls coach David Bruner said. “We had to travel to Rangely, and it’s not nearly as easy to travel. We will be ready to rock and roll on Tuesday.”

The Rams finished with 14 wins for the second-straight season. The Meeker girls were the 2A District 5 top seed and will have a bye Tuesday.

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Soroco freshman Morgan George brings a level of defense to the Rams that head coach David Bruner said his team needs with the district tournament set to begin Tuesday.

Should the Rams win, they will find themselves at home again when Soroco High School hosts the District 5 tournament, which tips off Friday.

“We haven’t hosted it in about 10 years, and I know the last time Soroco hosted, neither one of our teams played in it,” Bruner said. “It’s pretty important for us to be there.”

The Soroco boys, on the other hand, won’t have an easy road to that Friday contest.

The Rams boys — after losing to Hayden in their regular-season finale — drew the lowest seed at No. 7 and must travel to Paonia for a 6:30 p.m. contest Tuesday. Paonia, at 14-5 and 9-1 in league play, knocked off the Rams on Jan. 17 — a game Soroco was in from start to finish.

The Rams trailed by just four points at halftime and five points heading into the third quarter but eventually lost, 56-47.

But never mind what happened before, Rams coach Jake Eskridge said.

“It’s playoffs now,” Eskridge said. “The records go out the window. We have to win Tuesday night. We feel like we match up well with everybody, and we’ve played with everybody.”

Hayden boys slide into No. 6 seed

Just when it looked like the Hayden High School boys basketball team would be a shoo-in for the dead-last seed in its district tournament, the Tigers got red hot at the right time.

Hayden won its final four games after winning just one all season, leaped past Soroco in the rankings and stole the No. 6 seed, a big deal as far as district tournament play-in game draws are concerned.

Instead of traveling four hours to take on a 9-1 Paonia squad, the Tigers drew No. 3 Rangely in the district play-in game. Hayden will travel just two hours to play a Panthers squad that Tigers coach Mike Luppes said his team has a better shot against.

Hayden lost to Rangely, 45-36, on Jan. 18. It was a game the Tigers played without Luppes on the sideline. He was hospitalized at the time with a wrist infection.

“I wasn’t there, but it was one we felt like we let slip away,” Luppes said. “They felt like they could have had that one pretty easily.”

The Tiger boys play at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Hayden girls drew the toughest first-round game and will travel to 15-4 Paonia at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Tigers lost to Paonia, 64-25, on Jan. 18. Paonia has won nine of its past 10 games.

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

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