Hayden, Soroco primed for match-ups
February 8, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Soroco High School boys basketball coach Sam McLeod is going into tonight’s game against cross-county rival Hayden a little bit blind, in a couple of ways.
McLeod missed seeing the two teams clash during their first meeting, Dec. 20, in preparation for his wedding. He also isn’t sure what to expect from an unpredictable Hayden High School offense. The Tigers are as apt to work the ball in the paint, through post threats Zach Barnes and Chuck Hines, as to let senior guard Jordan Williams – who shot 8-for-23 from behind the 3-point arc in the Tigers recent 75-72 overtime loss to Plateau Valley – loose on the perimeter.
One thing McLeod is sure of, however, is the energy both teams will bring to the floor.
“It’s always a big game,” McLeod said. “The stands are full on both sides, both teams are competitive. I’m looking forward to the intensity level.”
Soroco also is coming off a recent tough loss, a 57-51 defeat Saturday at West Grand. That was a tight, one-basket game leading into the final minutes when the Mustangs pulled away. Now, the Rams have a tough draw looking down the road at a postseason run.
McLeod said even if Soroco wins all of its final three Class 2A Western Slope League (District 5) games, the Rams still will end up traveling to play one of the league’s top teams, including Grand Valley, Meeker and Paonia.
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But that doesn’t stop him from labeling tonight’s match-up as a must-win.
“We’re not positioned well for the playoffs, but it’s a pride game,” McLeod said.
The Tigers are not positioned much better in the league standings, but claimed the upper hand against Soroco on Dec. 20, winning, 69-50.
The Soroco girls are coming into tonight’s game hot, on a three-game win streak highlighted by an upset win Feb. 1 against Meeker, in which Kelsey Samuelson scored 30 points. The Rams followed that up with a road win against West Grand. The Rams hope to repeat the result of their first game with the Tigers, a 56-45 win for the Soroco girls. The Hayden girls, on the other hand, have dropped their past three games. But the Tigers hope to rebound before the final push of their season, which ends with a pair of home league games, Feb. 15 and 16.
Both girls teams are jockeying positions, hoping to finish in the league’s No. 4 or No. 5 spots.
The Soroco boys and girls follow up tonight’s games (girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.), with another pair of games Saturday, hosting the talented Paonia Eagles (girls at 2:30 p.m., boys at 4 p.m.). Hayden travels to Kremmling on Saturday to face the West Grand Mustangs (girls at 2:30 p.m., boys at 4 p.m.).
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