High school sports preview, Jan. 5 to Jan. 7: Routt County teams charge back on the scene
Steamboat and Soroco wrestling
Steamboat Springs — Saturday at Eagle Valley tournament
The Sailors and Rams won’t exactly be easing themselves back into competition, but instead, getting a good dose of regional wrestling when they travel to Eagle Valley High School for a tournament.
Steamboat will see three other regionals teams, Eagle Valley, Middle Park and Summit, while Soroco will see two, Hotchkiss and North Park.
The regional tournament is still more than a month away, but now back from winter break, it’s the beginning of the run up to those events for local teams.
6:30 p.m. Friday Steamboat (2-2-1) vs. Chatfield (1-5)
3 p.m. Saturday Steamboat vs. Aspen (1-4)
The Sailors had an up-and-down start to their season, but they have a great chance to add two “ups” this weekend with a pair of home games.
Chatfield, Friday’s opponent, and Aspen, Saturday’s, have won two games between them.
Steamboat’s excelled at spreading the puck around early this season. Nine different players have scored, and no player has more than two goals through five games. With more share-the-glory play like that, the team could come out of the weekend with two more wins.
Steamboat boys and girls basketball
Thursday to Saturday Steamboat girls (0-6) and Steamboat boys (4-2) at Roosevelt High School tournament
The Sailors are headed to Johnstown to play three games each at Roosevelt High School in the Roughrider Shootout.
The girls team will open against Pueblo County, 2-7. If Steamboat’s to pick up its first win of the season at the tournament, it will need more big-time play from its leading scorer, Raya Duryea, plus some real help from the rest of the roster.
Senior Kady Look, who missed the first part of the schedule recovering from an injury, could be poised to offer that help if she’s ready to go.
The boys, meanwhile, will be looking to solidify a strong start to the season. They’ll also open against Pueblo County, 4-5 so far. The boys could also stand to find some support for their leading scorer. So far that’s Ethan Riniker, who’s averaging 18.8 points per game. His younger brother Mac Riniker is second with about half the output, 9.6 per game.
The squad has a lot of players then packed in the point-scoring standings, with Jacob Taulman at 8.2 and Jake Berry at 7.2. Getting another player or even two regularly into double figures would be huge for the team as it heads toward league play.
Soroco girls basketball
5:30 p.m. Friday Soroco (5-1) vs. De Beque (5-0)
2:30 p.m. Saturday Soroco at Rangely (5-1)
A game against De Beque has meant one thing in recent seasons for local high school girls basketball teams: an easy win. The Rams have beaten the Dragons by 50 points or more in three of their last four meetings.
This year, however, could be different. De Beque is 5-0 heading into Friday’s game at Soroco. The Rams, ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 2A by CHSAANow.com, will represent De Beque’s biggest test of the season by a long shot, but five games is more than the team won the last two years combined.
The trip a day later to Rangely should also be interesting. The Panthers haven’t lost since their first game of the season and are led by junior Katelyn Brown’s 16.5 points per game.
Soroco boys basketball
7 p.m. Friday Soroco (0-5) vs. De Beque (2-3)
4 p.m. Saturday Soroco at Rangely (2-3)
The Rams haven’t had much trouble with the Dragons in recent seasons, but the Rams also don’t usually start play after winter break still looking for their first win. Friday could offer a great chance to pick it up, but it won’t be easy. De Beque is 2-3 and both of its games came against the same team, Dove Creek. They’ve been competitive in all of their losses, however, showing real progress as a program.
Both Friday against the Dragons and in Saturday’s trip to Rangely, Soroco needs to find more scoring. Brandon Veilleux has led the team with 10.8 points per game, but he’s the only Ram scoring in double figures. He’ll need some help if his team is to pick up its first win this weekend.
Hayden boys basketball
7 p.m. Friday Hayden (0-4) vs. Rangely (2-3)
4 p.m. Saturday Hayden at Meeker (2-3)
Rebuilding the boys basketball program has been a slow process in Hayden, but there have been some real signs of progress early this season. The team actually led into the second quarter in its last game before the winter break, a 43-31 loss to North Park. That isn’t meant as a slight. The Tigers have had little to point to for more than a season now, and piecing together a strong quarter is a place to start.
Doing it again this weekend would be another great step. It’s probably a bit much to ask for a win this weekend, but if Hayden could string together stretches of strong play and be competitive for a quarter or a half, it may indicate that elusive win is looming.
Hayden girls basketball
5:30 p.m. Friday Hayden (2-4) vs. Rangely (5-1)
2:30 p.m. Saturday Hayden at Meeker (2-3)
The Tigers closed 2016 with a strong home win against North Park, one of the team’s best wins in recent seasons. Making it a winning streak at home against Rangely would be huge for the squad.
Hayden’s building something, with senior leaders like Darian Murphy (11.2 points per game to lead the team) and Grace Wilkie leading the team and a bunch of underclassmen showing they have the talent to not just crack the lineup but offer high-quality minutes.
It may all come together this weekend, or it may take a few more weeks, but it could add up to enough for the Tigers in games their 2-4 record wouldn’t otherwise suggest.
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