‘Hot hands’ help Rams boys basketball over South Park
OAK CREEK — In each quarter against South Park, a different Soroco Ram stepped up. Sharing the ball the whole way, Soroco High School boys basketball defeated South Park 53-41 on Saturday, Jan. 4
Senior Nick Estes was the first to catch fire. He netted 7 of his 8 points in the first eight minutes of play. With just a 3-pointer from junior Tyler Koler-Wixom helping Estes on offense, the Rams held a 10-9 lead after one.
“It was a pretty good game right after Christmas break,” said Soroco head coach Jody Gregory. “Kind of sloppy first quarter, but other than that, they played well.”
In the second, Koler-Wixom took off. He missed his first shot from just inside the 3-point line. He followed his shot, dodging a South Park player and collected his own rebound. He hopped up and, through the hands of a Burro, scored.
Following a Burros basket, Koler-Wixom threw one up from 3-point territory. That time, his first attempt fell, putting the Rams up 17-11. His efforts turned the narrow lead into a 24-14 halftime advantage.
While the offense surged, Gregory said it was actually the defense that most impressed him.
In the third, it was senior Jesse Koler’s turn as he scored a deep two and a three to push the lead to 34-16. He scored all seven of his points in the third.
Sophomore Joey McLaughlin also added a pair of threes in the third quarter, as the Rams outscored the Burros 15-6 in the frame.
“It shows we share the ball equally,” said junior Liam Yaconiello. “We don’t mind who has the hot hand, we’ll feed that hot hand. We’re not devoted to one player like maybe we were other years.”
Yaconiello used a jump shot from the top of the key to put the Rams up by 20, 42-22, their greatest lead of the night. Burros junior Leonardo Banuelos answered with a three, but Yaconiello followed with a floater.
South Park turned on the afterburners, as junior Elias Esparza scored two straight. Yaconiello had found his stride though, as he used another three to keep the lead at 20 points with four minutes to play.
The Burros capitalized on young Rams players taking the floor in the fourth, outscoring the home team 20-19 in the final frame.
“(I got to work on) heating up in that first half,” said Yaconiello. “I love getting hot in the fourth quarter, clutching up everything if we need to, but I want to score the entire game.”
Soroco 53, South Park 41
SP 9 5 6 20
SO 10 14 15 19
Scoring: SP, Bobby Wallace 14, Elias Esparza 9. S, Liam Yaconiello 12, Tyler Koler-Wixom 10, Joey McLaughlin 8, Nick Estes 8, Jesse Koler 7, Sam Iacovetto 4, Luke Duksa 2, Gregory Rubalcaba.
- Dec. 6: Soroco at VCHS Tip-off: L vs. Vail Christian 66-39, W vs. Cedaredge 46-42
- Dec. 12-14: Soroco at Meeker Shootout, L vs. Rifle 59-33, L vs. Aspen 65-35, W vs. Dolores 54-43
- Dec. 20: Vail Mountain at Soroco, L 50-42
- Dec. 21: Caprock at Soroco, W 75-42
- Jan. 4: South Park at Soroco, W 53-41
- Jan. 11: Soroco at West Grand
- Jan. 17: Soroco at DeBeque
- Jan. 24: Hayden at Soroco
- Jan. 25: Soroco at North Park
- Jan. 31: Rangely at Soroco
- Feb. 1: Soroco at Addenbrooke Academy
- Feb. 7: Soroco at Hotchkiss
- Feb. 8: Soroco at Paonia
- Feb. 13: Soroco at Meeker
- Feb. 14: Plateau Valley at Soroco
- Feb. 21: Vail Christian at Soroco
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