Short on experience, Soroco boys basketball team eyes rebuild | SteamboatToday.com

Short on experience, Soroco boys basketball team eyes rebuild

Soroco coach Shawn Hayes guided his team to a chuck of the league championship a year ago. Things could be different in Oak Creek this year, however, as the team returns without its top six scorers.

— The looming season was already set to be one about introducing new players and establishing a new chemistry for the Soroco High School boys basketball team.

Even coach Shawn Hayes didn't quite know the rebuilding job his squad would take on early this season, however.

The Rams graduated four seniors a year ago and return to the court this winter missing an additional four players who saw varsity minutes last season.

"It's going to be something different," Hayes said Tuesday, looking ahead to the team's season opener Saturday.

This year's team returns just two of last year's top eight scorers, and those athletes, current senior Brandon Veilleux and junior Sarvis Anarella, ranked seventh and eighth in that category.

The others either left the squad with injuries or intend on focusing on different sports.

Soroco tied for first place in the league a year ago and finished with a 15-5 record. That leaves an inexperienced young core with which the Rams hope to build another winning team.

Winning's still the ultimate goal, Hayes said, but the first task he hopes his team will accomplish is developing a rhythm and chemistry of its own.

"Physically, we're smaller this year," Hayes said, "but we've got a good group of kids coming up. We need to get a little more size and a little more physical, and we'll have to run the floor a lot, play a lot of hard-nosed defense and learn how to win."

The team starts its season Saturday with a trip to play at a tournament at South Park High School. It will play two games — at 3 p.m. against Platte Canyon and at 7 p.m. against South Park.

After that, the team will travel to Meeker for the Cowboy Classic then launch into what will be a difficult league schedule. The two halves of the Western Slope League are merged this season, making the path even more thorny.

It'll be a far different experience than it was a year ago, but Hayes said his team is excited for that challenge.

"We understand we're not as athletic as all the teams we'll see this year," Hayes said. "We won't be as big as all of them, either, but we're capable of doing all the little things well, — of playing defense and being sound with our footwork. Those are the things we will do to help us be successful."

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