Soroco caps thrilling week with huge win

Girls beat West Grand, slide into 1st place

Joel Reichenberger
Jessica Rossi, left, Kali Constine and Briana Peterson celebrate a basket late in Saturday's win against West Grand. The Rams improved to 13-2 with the win and avenged one of those two losses.
Joel Reichenberger

— There was every reason to think the dreams of the Soroco High School girls basketball team crumpled to the floor in the first quarter of Saturday’s home game against league-leading West Grand.

Sophomore guard DaKota Bruner, one of the team’s leading scores, collapsed midway through that quarter, screaming in pain and grabbing her knee.

The Rams sustained one devastating loss, but they delivered another, rallying to win their biggest game of the season.

Soroco beat West Grand, 69-45.

“This means a lot, after this week with everything that’s gone on,” Soroco senior Leah Walorski said. “We really needed to pull through in the end, to play as a team and play through everything.”

The win capped a wild and emotional week for the Rams. They entered as one of the top teams in their division and beat each of the other three teams in the conversation, leaving them alone at the top.

Along the way they had two players visit the hospital, Laramie Parker, who could be out a month, and Bruner, who’s likely to miss the rest of the season.

But after routing North Park on Tuesday, staging a dramatic comeback to beat Vail Christian on Friday and blasting West Grand on Saturday, the Rams are in first place with three decidedly winnable games to play.

If it can get through De Beque, North Park and, the biggest hurdle remaining, a trip to Hayden, the Rams will secure their first division championship since 1996.

That was all made possible Saturday by the way the team responded to Bruner’s devastating injury.

On Saturday, Soroco dipped at first, giving up a 9-0 run after the injury, but it roared after that.

Briana Peterson drilled a 3-point shot to restart the offense and keyed a 12-2 run to retake the lead.

She finished with 26 points to lead all scorers.

Jessica Rossi scored 11 of her 17 points in the second quarter to keep the Rams in front and a 15-6 run that dipped into the third quarter helped Soroco open up the lead.

It got contributions from up and down the lineup.

Walorski entered the game shooting 7 of 25 from the free-throw line but sank six of eight and scored 12 points, the best output of her career.

Hayley Johnson, Morgan George and Kali Constine all handled the ball more in Bruner’s absence and helped the Rams consistently get the best of a game so aggressive there were 19 whistled jump balls.

Johnson also scored 10 points.

It wasn’t the first time the program has dealt with such an injury. Peterson went down with season-ending knee injuries each of the last two seasons. Soroco never was able to fully respond.

On Saturday, it did.

“This showed their maturity level,” coach David Bruner said. “Last year when Bri went down, we didn’t respond like that. The girls are more mature and they said, ‘We’re going to win this thing for DaKota.’”

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