County rivals split doubleheader | SteamboatToday.com

County rivals split doubleheader

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs — Sarajane Rossi saved her best for first. — Sarajane Rossi saved her best for first.

— Sarajane Rossi saved her best for first.

The junior guard from Soroco scored 15 of her team-high 21 points in the first half, as Soroco outlasted cross-county rival Hayden, 56-45, on Thursday night in Hayden.

Rossi keyed her teams to 13-0 and 13-2 runs in the first half with aggressive play on the wing.

“It was our last game before break,” Rossi said. “We were playing Hayden, and that was a big part.”

With the two teams knotted at 5 late in the first quarter, Soroco began to make a run and open the game up. The Rams girls basketball team held the Tigers scoreless for the last 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the quarter to take a 14-5 lead.

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In the second, it was more of the same as Soroco led by as much as 22-7 before a Holli Salazar field goal – Hayden’s first in more than four minutes – spurred the Tigers on a run of their own.

Behind Salazar – who scored nine of Hayden’s 11 points in the second quarter – the Tigers eventually cut the Rams’ lead to eight at 22-14 with 4:03 left in the quarter.

But Rossi couldn’t – and wouldn’t – miss.

The junior led Soroco on a 13-2 run to close the quarter out, putting the Rams ahead, 35-16.

Hayden began to make a run in the fourth quarter, once again by the inside play of Salazar.

The Hayden junior, who had a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds, scored her team’s first eight points of the quarter, bringing the Tigers closer, at 42-34 with 5:16 left in the game.

But Soroco again turned to Rossi. Rossi countered a free throw and a jumper to push the Rams’ lead back to double digits.

Despite hitting only 8-of-20 free throws in the fourth quarter, Soroco was able to limit Hayden’s opportunities.

With 1:33 left in the game, Soroco went on a mini 8-2 run to put the game away for good.

“We were pretty motivated,” Rossi said. “It wasn’t a league game, but it was Hayden, and that’s a big deal. It fired us up.”

The game wraps up the pre-holiday schedule of the season. Both teams return to action in January.

Hayden boys

blow out Soroco

Soroco dominated the start, and Hayden owned the end.

In a heated game between two cross-county rivals – where each side held a double-digit lead – Hayden turned it on in the second half, cruising to a 69-50 win.

Soroco used a frantic pace in the first half to take a big lead.

At one point in the second quarter, the Rams had a 24-12 lead. But Hayden used a full-court press to instantly get back into the game. After Soroco pushed its lead to 26-16, Hayden scored the next nine points in a 35-second span to cut the lead to 26-25.

With the two teams exchanging baskets to start the second half, Hayden took its first lead since two minutes into the first quarter at 33-31.

Then, with the game tied at 35, Soroco went cold, and Hayden couldn’t miss.

The Rams went without a field goal for 6:41, spanning the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth quarters.

From the 3:04 mark of the third quarter to the end of the game, Soroco made only three field goals and were outscored, 31-12.

Jordan Williams led Hayden with 25 points, and Zach Barnes chipped in 17. Ryan Tibbets paced Soroco with 20 points.

Both teams return to action in January.