3-point bomb caps Soroco boys’ game-winning surge
January 18, 2013
Oak Creek — With one swish, it all seems real.
Entering this season, it had been two years since the Soroco High School boys basketball team had won a big game against a good conference opponent, and when the team stumbled to an 0-4 start — a stretch somehow even more miserable than that record makes it sound — it didn't appear this season would be any different.
On Friday, though, junior Matt Regan drained a 3-point shot with four seconds remaining. It sent the Rams' bench into hysterics, it set off wild cheering in the packed Oak Creek gymnasium and it lifted the Rams above the Eagles, giving them a too-sweet-for-words 71-70 victory.
"Now we know," Regan said. "This was definitely a confidence booster."
The win was Soroco's fifth straight and the best of that bunch, which also included a big win against conference rival West Grand. There were plenty of late-game heroes who had a hand in the team's final-minute comeback, and perhaps that is the answer to what has changed with these Rams.
Soroco was trailing by five points and sinking fast until senior Nic Paxton hit a 3-point shot with 16 seconds remaining. A missed free throw from Paonia set up Regan's big splash.
Paxton had nine points in the final quarter, playing some of his best ball in a season that's showcased his versatility rather than his scoring.
Another Ram senior, AJ Anderson, also was great down the stretch. He scored six consecutive points for Soroco, with his final bucket tying the game at 58 with 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.
Finally, Regan had two 3-pointers in the final four minutes. The first answered a small Paonia surge. The second, the season’s biggest shot, came after the teams scrambled down the court following a Soroco rebound on a missed free throw with 14 seconds remaining. The clock ticked under 10, then 5 seconds, but the Rams took their time, working the ball to junior Ryan Jeep in the corner. The Eagles defense flocked to him — perfectly understandable as he led all scorers with 21 — and he dished to Regan, who took advantage.
"Everyone was focused on Ryan, and I just hit it," Regan said. "I watched it, and I thought, 'It might go in.' It was straight on."
Paxton and Anderson finished with 12 each. Bjorn Carlson had 11 and Regan 10. Jeep led the Rams through the first half, scoring 15 — half of the team's points before the break.
Soroco will be tested again Saturday on the road against Hotchkiss.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com