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Rams girls basketball routs Saints, boys beaten inside

Dave Shively
Soroco's Sarajane Rossi, right, loses control of the ball as she dribbles past a Vail Christian defender during the Rams' game in Oak Creek on Tuesday night. The Rams won, 47-22.
Brian Ray

Steamboat Springs — One would think that five games in the past eight days – counting the set of junior varsity games in which most of the Soroco boys and girls basketball players participated – would wear out the Rams. — One would think that five games in the past eight days – counting the set of junior varsity games in which most of the Soroco boys and girls basketball players participated – would wear out the Rams.

— One would think that five games in the past eight days – counting the set of junior varsity games in which most of the Soroco boys and girls basketball players participated – would wear out the Rams.

That’s what the Vail Christian Saints were hoping when they came to Oak Creek for a pair of games Tuesday night.

But in the last nonleague match-up between the two schools, before Vail Christian moves from Class 1A to Class 2A in the Western Slope League next season, the Rams had enough gas in the tanks for the girls to pull off a legitimate rout, beating the Saints, 47-22.

The Soroco High School boys had all the energy they needed, but fell, 67-50, because of the combination of costly turnovers created from Vail Christian’s half-court press and a dominant, game-high 31-point performance from Saints senior Jaryd Francis.

“Every time we play Soroco, they bring good, hard defense and a full-court press, doing a good job of keeping the pressure on,” Vail Christian girls coach Patrick Beaudine said.

While Beaudine admitted his team had been struggling to find its rhythm, the Rams seemed primed, coming off a tough two-point, 48-46 league loss Saturday to North Park.

Leading 23-5 entering the second half, Kelsey Samuelson was playing with a chip on her shoulder, grabbing rebounds, making steals and dishing off passes to Sarajane Rossi on the inside to spark an 8-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to extend the Rams’ lead to 39-7.

The Saints struggled to even hit the rim on a trio of possessions to open the fourth quarter, but eventually began finding Michelle Disher at the post, who scored eight of her team-leading nine points in the second half.

Samuelson led the Rams with 13 points, Rossi added eight and Ceanna Rossi and Glenda Long each had six points.

The crowd that had watched the quiet finish to the girls’ game came alive again with a blocked shot from Soroco’s Robert Anderson to kick off the boys’ contest.

Soroco’s Alex Estes and Ryan Tibbetts grabbed steals and caught the Saints off guard to jump to a 10-7 first-quarter lead.

“They crash the boards hard and bothered us early in that 1-2-2 zone – they did a good job taking us out of our game early,” said Vail Christian boys coach Sheldon Kuhns. “They’re very aggressive; you’ve gotta earn everything here in Soroco.”

The Saints earned the lead back with aggressive play from junior guard A.J. Burgess, who capitalized on a string of Soroco turnovers, and then from Francis, who stole the momentum for good by throwing down a two-hand dunk and converting the ensuing foul shot.

“There were opportunities that they gave us, where we were in the right place, in the right position to score that we couldn’t get, and we have got to have those,” Soroco coach Sam McLeod said.

Tibbetts and Estes connected for transition buckets to help the Rams open the second half with a 6-2 run to cut the Saints’ lead to eight, but Francis sank three consecutive baskets to answer. The Saints closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run, ending with a 3-pointer by Chase Gruber to put the game out of reach.

Tibbetts led Soroco with 17 points, Cody Miles had 13 and Estes chipped in nine.

Soroco hosts Meeker on Friday. The girls play at 5:30 p.m., and the boys play at 7 p.m.


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