Finally a full team, Soroco boys basketball ready to run | SteamboatToday.com

Finally a full team, Soroco boys basketball ready to run

Soroco's Kendall Hood drives to the basket last season in a game against Meeker. Hood is one of the Rams' top returning scorers.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It was a positive, Soroco boys basketball coach Shawn Hayes said, even if the success of Soroco's football team led to some awkward moments for his basketball program.

For much of the first three weeks of practice, Hayes only had five players on the court every night as two-thirds of his team continued to play on the football team in what was the best football postseason run in school history.

"It's going to do nothing but help us," Hayes said. "For them to bring that enthusiasm and excitement in, that's great. It was a struggle in practice. We haven't had a lot of practices together yet, but they really brought a positive attitude when they came in."

Ready or not, the basketball season for Soroco tips off at 6 p.m. Friday as it makes a trip to Denver to play Denver School of Science and Technology: Byers.

The Rams will play again in the Denver area at 1 p.m. Saturday at Strive Prep-Rise Academy.

The schedule gets more familiar after that with a trip next weekend to the Cowboy Classic tournament in Meeker.

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Hayes said he's looking for a more fast-paced team this season, and the players the Rams are returning could provide that. The squad's coming off a 4-16 season. That was a step back after consecutive winning seasons, but Soroco does return most of its lineup after losing just three seniors.

The most unmistakable returner is Grant Redmond, a junior who towers at 6-feet, 8-inches tall.

Redmond missed most of his freshman season with an injury, and Hayes said that showed last season when Redmond played as a sophomore. He said the lessons from those minutes and hard work through the summer trying to bulk up his naturally skinny frame have shown up in practice.

"Someone 6-8 is an anomaly at this school," Hayes said. "He's really come along. He's a lot tougher mentally and physically."

Kendall Hood, Colton Stroup and Bosch Erickson are all returning seniors and rank, with Redmond, as the top returning scorers from last season, all averaging between four and six points per game.

The plan, Hayes said, is to take that experience and deploy it with a more fast-paced style, one he's been working into the team for years, so even the athletes running just two weeks ago for touchdowns will quickly be able to get up to pace running down the court.

"We've been trying to implement that slowly every year, to evolve it," Hayes said. "We want to be able to play at a faster pace and still be able to maintain mental focus and stay in control."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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