Soroco boys hoops explodes in 2nd half, knock off Plateau Valley |

Soroco boys hoops explodes in 2nd half, knock off Plateau Valley

Soroco senior AJ Anderson goes up for a layup Friday in the fourth quarter against Plateau Valley. The Rams were knotted in a tight game through halftime but exploded in the third and fourth quarters to take the win.

— The Soroco High School boys basketball team played a lackluster half, a great quarter and a good quarter, and that all added up to enough for a win against Plateau Valley, 59-46.

The Rams trailed the Cowboys after one quarter and only a late spurt in the second gave them a lead at half, 19-17. Soroco dominated the third quarter, however, and that proved decisive.

"Maybe we were trying a little to hard at first because it was our last home game, but we did what we needed to do," Soroco coach Jake Eskridge said.

The win is yet another boost of confidence for the Rams as they head into their final regular-season game, a trip Friday to play at rival Hayden.

The teams met to open the regular season, and each was without a key component. Soroco, 9-9, didn't have leading scorer Ryan Jeep, and Hayden was without scoring and rebounding force Jorge Valdez. The game turned into a lopsided affair in favor of the Tigers, and the loss was the first of an ugly pre-Christmas stretch for the Rams.

They turned their season around late in 2012 and in January, however, adding drama to the looming contest.

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"We've grown a lot within our relationships as a team," McCollum said. "We're playing a lot more together, and that's really helped us come along."

When the Rams were on Saturday, Plateau Valley couldn't do much besides get out of the way.

The Cowboys led early and by three points throughout much of the second quarter. In the third, however, Soroco poured in 25 to Plateau Valley's nine, thanks in large part to a press the Rams don't often deploy.

Nic Paxton helped start the rush. He had nine points in the period, including a 3-point shot that put his team up, 32-23. McCollum hit a pair of free throws, then stole a ball and scored a layup. Plateau Valley passed it back in, and AJ Anderson stole the ball and quickly scored with another layup.

The game went from a gritty, close affair to an 18-point laugher in just a few minutes. In the fourth, Soroco pushed the lead even further to 22 points when Ryan Jeep scored, drew a foul and made the free throw.

"Our press, we came out flat in the first half, and that press really got our energy up," McCollum said.

Plateau Valley put together one last solid charge, actually pulling the game back within single digits, but Soroco shot well enough from the free-throw line that it wasn't in serious danger of coughing up the win.

Paxton finished with 19 points, Regan 12, Jeep nine and Anderson eight.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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