Soroco boys hoops’ defense steps up in 14-point win versus South Park | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco boys hoops’ defense steps up in 14-point win versus South Park

Ben Ingersoll

— Playing a shorthanded South Park squad, the Soroco boys basketball team was able to exploit the Burros’ missing pieces, earning the Rams a home-opening win Saturday and their fourth straight victory.

It was clear from the opening tip that South Park wasn’t willing to play in its regular element, almost holding a game of keep away when the Burros had the ball. But when Soroco got its chances, the Rams made the most of them and snagged the win, 43-29.

Soroco is now 5-2 this winter.

"It was tough at first tonight," Rams coach Shawn Hayes said. "Offensively, we struggled a little bit trying to get into a rhythm. They were very deliberate with what they wanted to do, and it kind of slowed our pace down."

Instead of dwelling on a lack of offensive rhythm, Hayes preached to his team to get things going on defense. For the second straight night, the Rams held their opponent to well below their season scoring average.

South Park coughed up seven turnovers to go along with just seven first-half points as Soroco jumped out to a 9-3 first-quarter lead that swelled to 23-7 by halftime.

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The Burros snuck back into it a bit in the third quarter, trimming the Soroco lead from 16 to nine at one point, but it was too little, too late for the visitors, who are still winless this season.

"The good part about our team right now is our defense in the last two games," Hayes said. "Friday night was a huge defensive scrap in a very good team in Rangely. Tonight, the team was psyched up, ready to play."

After a bit of a slow start, Soroco junior Warren Hayes led the Rams with 10 points and four rebounds. Senior Cory Anderson came on strong in the second half, scoring nine points. Eric Logan had six points and seven rebounds. Chance Beaty finished with six points, six rebounds and four assists. Storm Veilleux also had six points to go along with his six rebounds and a pair of assists.

Turnover wise, things ended just about even. The Burros committed 20, and the Rams had 15 in their first test in their own gym.

"The home atmosphere was great," Shawn Hayes said. "The boys had been talking about it all week. With the first six games on the road, they were really looking forward to it."

Coaches have limited practice dates when they officially can meet with players during the holiday break, per Colorado High School Activities Association rules. Much of what happens between now and when the players return to campus in early January is up to them.

"I told the boys they have to focus on conditioning, strength and skills," Hayes said. "As much work as we’ve put in to get to this point, we don’t want to lose that heading into January."

When the Rams do return, they’ll host cross-county rival Hayden on Jan. 9. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll