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Rams win, advance to districts

Melinda Mawdsley

The Soroco boys basketball team opened its postseason schedule with a 64-60 overtime win over Plateau Valley on Tuesday night in Collbran.

In the two teams’ previous two matchups, the Rams were unable to contain the Cowboys’ leading scorer Will Keller. But Soroco implemented a diamond-and-one defense Tuesday, enabling one Rams defender to shadow Keller, while the other four played in a zone.

Soroco coach Andy Smith used seniors C.J. Remick, Kory Babcock and sophomore Denis Luark throughout Tuesday’s win as the “diamonds.”

“In the previous two games, (Keller) had 21 points and 18 points,” Smith said. “We held him to 15 (on Tuesday), which isn’t too much below his average, but he was being defended by one player continuously and being trapped by others.”

Soroco’s reward for defeating Plateau Valley is a 2 p.m. meeting with Rangely on Saturday in the first round of districts.

Because the Panthers won the Western Slope League Championship, they receive a free pass into the regional tournament even if they don’t finish first or second in the district tournament.

In other words, in terms of moving on, it matters little if Rangely loses Saturday. The Panthers are eyeing a state title and may decide to be conservative with playing time in anticipation of more important postseason games down the road.

“That’s a real big decision for a coach,” Smith said. “There is some physicality in our team, and they have got to know that we will come full force. We have to. It’s do or die for us. They don’t have to win. They don’t even need to go to the district tournament.”

Soroco (6-13) lost its only meeting of the year with Rangely, 35-69. Smith said the Rams played hard, but they missed a number of open shots. Against Plateau Valley on Tuesday, the offensive rhythm was back.

“It was a real close game throughout,” Smith said. “What I was really impressed with was that we played well. Every single person on the court played well. Defensively, everyone knew their assignments, and we worked the offense.”

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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