Soroco coach excited to face new foes as Rams head to regional basketball playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco coach excited to face new foes as Rams head to regional basketball playoffs

Senior Charlee Veilleux moves the ball around the perimeter during the Rams' victory over West Grand in the district tournament last week at home. The Rams will head to Limon on Friday, hoping to find similar success in a regional playoff game against Burlington.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After spending the past four months playing across the Western Slope, nobody would blame Soroco High School girls basketball coach David Bruner for wanting a change of scenery.

"I'm excited to see somebody different," Bruner said. "We have never seen these teams since I've been here, so that will be fun."

The fun will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Limon when the No. 14  Soroco Rams take the court against No. 19 Burlington in the opening round of the region 3 tournament. If the Rams can top the Cougars, Soroco will face the winner of No. 3 Limon and No. 30 Hoehne in the regional championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Bruner has spent the early part of the week watching game films forming a plan for taking on Burlington. If Soroco can win that game, he said he will have the team prepared for any opponent.

"This is the best time of the season," the Rams coach said. "Our kids are still playing basketball, and  I think we are the only team in Routt County that is still playing."

The coach said he isn't going to change what has brought Soroco success on the court so far this season. The Rams, 17-5-0,  have advanced to the regional tournament three of the past four years.

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Burlington is 13-9 for the season and ranked 19th in the RPI standings. To win, the Rams will need to stop the team's leading scorer Alex Bauer, a senior who averages nine points a game.

Bauer leads a veteran group that includes five other seniors —Tomy Herman, Wynn Marshall, Joanna Lopez, Trella Long and Caprise Cominiello. The team also has six juniors and one freshman on the varsity roster. Burlington advanced to the regional last season before falling to Clear Creek.

Burner said he knew going into the season that the Rams would be up against some teams with tall players as they advanced toward the state finals. With that in mind, he scheduled early season games against bigger schools.

"I think that helped prepare us for what we are going to see on Friday night," Bruner said. “Hopefully, what we did at the beginning of the year will pay off for us this weekend."

The keys for the Rams will be staying healthy and focused. The team will leave Oak Creek after practice Thursday and spend the night in Denver. The team will then make the final stretch of the journey to Limon on Friday morning.

Chloe Veilleux returned to the lineup last week and is getting stronger with every game, and Bruner is optimistic that Grace Olinger will also be back and at full strength by the end of the week.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.