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Short on height, Soroco girls hope to be long on wins

The Soroco High School girls basketball team has won its league two consecutive years. It won't be easy for the Rams to repeat this season, but that doesn't mean the squad has changed its goals.
Joel Reichenberger

Soroco girls 2016-17 schedule

Dec. 1 at Meeker Cowboy Shootout tournament

Dec. 2 at Meeker Cowboy Shootout tournament

Dec. 3 at Meeker Cowboy Shootout tournament

Dec. 6 vs. North Park, 6 p.m.

Dec. 9 at Cortez tournament

Dec. 10 at Cortez tournament

Dec. 16 vs. South Park, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 6 vs. De Beque, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 7 at Rangely, 2:30 p.m.

Jan. 13 at Paonia, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 20 at Vail Christian, 7 p.m.

Jan. 21 vs. Caprock Academy, 2:30 p.m.

Jan. 24 at North Park, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 27 at Lake County, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 28 vs. Hotchkiss, 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 3 vs. West Grand, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 vs. Hayden, 4 p.m.

Feb. 10 at Plateau Valley, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 17 vs. Meeker, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 23-25 at district tournament, De Beque

— They’ll look different — think shorter — and play different — think faster — but the Soroco High School girls basketball team hopes to generate the same level of success it’s had in recent seasons.

The Rams tipoff their season Thursday at the Cowboy Shootout tournament in Meeker, and they’re hoping that’s the start of another season contending for a league title and pushing deep into the postseason.

Soroco has won its league each of the past two seasons, but repeating those results won’t be easy, and not only because the Rams graduated their leading scorer and main defensive post presence, Briana Peterson.

The Class 1A/2A Western Slope league was split through the past two seasons. Soroco outplayed contenders such as West Grand and Vail Christian, but didn’t see state powerhouses like Paonia, Cedaredge and Meeker.

They’re all back together this year. The 13-team league will mean the Rams won’t get home-and-home series against rivals such as Hayden and West Grand (both actually home for Soroco), and it means whichever team does emerge as league champ will be among the favorites to fight for the state championship.

If Soroco’s to reach that level, it’ll need to play at least a little bit differently than it has in recent seasons. The team’s had dominant post players in recent seasons, including Peterson, who last year averaged 23 points per game, nearly twice the total of anyone else on the roster and more than a third the team’s overall production.

There’s plenty of firepower coming back, however, starting with a pair of seniors eager to fill in that point-scoring void.

DaKota Bruner averaged 12.4 per game a year ago, and Morgan George had 6.5.

Plus, there’s that speed.

“We’re not as big as we have been in the past, but we’re fast,” coach David Bruner said. “This will be the fastest team I’ve put on the floor in my career, 22 years.”

The Rams have leaned on up-tempo play in recent seasons, but hope to dial it up even further this season. That’ll show on the court with more full-court pressure, wire-to-wire in many games.

“The girls think we’ll be better,” Bruner said. “They believe that. That’s something with our program, something we try to instill from third grade through 12th grade, that they can be better than we were. We can score more points than we did last year, and I know the girls are looking to fight for the league title.”

Soroco, ranked No. 6 in the chsaanow.com preseason Class 2A poll, opens its season with a trio of games next weekend in Meeker.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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