Soroco boys basketball needs overtime to defeat Plateau Valley
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It happened a little slower than everything else.
Soroco High School senior Jesse Koler’s second free throw dinged off the front of the rim, then bounced off the back. When the ball fell through the hoop, Koler’s shoulders relaxed. Tying the game at 60 with six second left, he forced overtime against Plateau Valley.
In the four minutes of extra time, Soroco sophomore Jed Kirby made his presence known. He spent most of the season recovering from an ankle injury and made sure everyone knew he was healthy and able. The 6-foot Ram used a pair of 3-pointers to earn his team the 70-64 victory on Friday, Feb. 14.
“Man, they played their butts off,” said Soroco head coach Jody Gregory. “That’s the best game we’ve played all year. Our starting guard (senior Nick Estes) broke his hand Tuesday night at Hotchkiss, and these guys have come together and put it together the past few nights.”
Gregory was polite when screaming at his team to collect more rebounds, yelling, “Crash the boards, please,” partway through the second. If the Rams had more second-chance shots, they might be able to stop the see-saw that was the game against Plateau Valley.
Aside from a 22-15 Soroco advantage early in the second, the Rams and Cowboys exchanged the lead with every shot. The boys in maroon and white were barely up, 23-22, at the half.
Finally, someone decided to grab an offensive board. After junior Liam Yaconiello missed a shot, he grabbed his own rebound, stepped back and tried again. He missed, but junior Tyler Koler-Wixom was there with the putback. His make gave the Rams a 39-38 lead with two minutes left in the third. One possession later, Koler-Wixom used another offensive rebound to bring the score to 41-38. He ended the night with a team-high 18 points.
“Those played a huge role,” said Koler-Wixom. “If we didn’t get those, they could have got those and scored off it easily. My goal was to get back in there and give us a chance.”
In the fourth, shots from sophomore Joey McLaughlin and Koler-Wixom bolstered the lead to 8 points, 55-47.
All five Rams players who scored, tallied double digits. Koler scored 16, Kirby contributed 14, while McLaughlin netted 12 and Yaconiello added 10.
“We all just worked as a team. Everyone did their part,” said Koler-Wixom. “I was just lucky to get my shots off, and they were falling.”
With three minutes left, Plateau Valley senior Austyn Vig missed his second free throw, which paid off. As another Cowboy scored a 3, they tied the game at 55 with a little over two minutes to play in the game. Vig led all scorers with 41 points.
No matter how many times Plateau Valley caught up, Soroco held steady and regained the lead.
“They have heart,” said Gregory. “They never give up. These boys are the best bunch of boys you’ll ever find.”
Soroco 70, Plateau Valley 64
S 13 10 24 13 10 – 70
PV 11 11 20 18 4 – 64
Scoring: PV, Austyn Vig 41, Dylan Christensen 6. S, Tyler Koler-Wixom 18, Jesse Koler 16, Jed Kirby 14, Joey McLaughlin 12, Liam Yaconiello 10. Fouls: PV, 16. S, 15. FTs: PV, 13-18. S, 13-18.
Thursday, Feb. 13
Meeker 60, Soroco 53
S 9 15 15 14 – 53
M 2 17 22 19 – 60
- 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, L 61-42
- Jan. 17: Soroco at DeBeque, L 65-41
- Jan. 24: Hayden at Soroco, W 58-52
- Jan. 25: Soroco at North Park, W 55-42
- Jan. 31: Rangely at Soroco, L 66-60
- Feb. 1: Soroco at Addenbrooke Academy, W 77-63
- Feb. 8: Soroco at Paonia, W 59-54
- Feb. 11: Soroco at Hotchkiss, L 77-46
- Feb. 13: Soroco at Meeker, L 60-53
- Feb. 14: Plateau Valley at Soroco, W 70-64
- Feb. 21: Vail Christian at Soroco
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