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Soroco beats North Park

Dave Shively

Oak Creek — Sam McLeod was a little surprised with how the Soroco High School boys basketball team hit the floor Saturday afternoon against North Park. — Sam McLeod was a little surprised with how the Soroco High School boys basketball team hit the floor Saturday afternoon against North Park.

— Sam McLeod was a little surprised with how the Soroco High School boys basketball team hit the floor Saturday afternoon against North Park.

Friday night, the Rams coach witnessed what he called the best basketball the team had played in years – falling in an early hole, but rallying to give the defending state champion Grand Valley Cardinals a run for their money in a 61-50 loss.

But Soroco came out Saturday looking sleepy, missing a string of easy layup shots under the basket and falling behind 18-7.

The Rams snapped out of it, using 18 team steals to orchestrate a 12-point, four-minute scoring run to regain the lead and close the half ahead, 25-22. The Rams then put together a 19-point, four-minute run to put 61 points on the board and close the game with a 61-44 home win against North Park.

“Man, they’re scrappy if they get out and run – they’re really young like us,” North Park coach Jack Daly said, comparing Soroco and his winless, seven-man team.

Despite their youth, the Wildcats had the consistent option of feeding the ball to senior Coby Corkle, an unstoppable force at the post who led all scorers with 29 points.

Even with the inside game going, Daly credited his team’s demise to Soroco’s impact player of the day, Ryan Tibbetts.

The Wildcats keyed in defensively on Tibbetts, hoping to shut off the Rams junior, holding him scoreless for the first three quarters of play.

But with only a 42-37 Soroco lead and six minutes to go, Michael Davis grabbed one of his team-leading 12 rebounds and found Tibbetts, who sank a 3-pointer and opened the floodgates. In less than three minutes, Tibbetts consecutively scored 14 of his team-leading 18 points, which included a 3-point layup play set up by an Alex Estes steal, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers.

“I think he was the difference,” Daly said of Tibbetts.

Estes and Cody Miles each had 12 points, and Robert Anderson and Davis chipped in eight and six points, respectively.

“It was nowhere near the caliber of last night, but eventually we got things going,” McLeod said. “We just didn’t convert in the first half.”

Soroco hosts Vail Christian at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

– To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com


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