Soroco girls basketball powers through slow start for win over Battle Mountain
OAK CREEK — Both the Soroco High School (5-1) and Battle Mountain High School (2-3) fans were on the edge of their seats to see the first bucket.
It was the Soroco Rams home opener, and they were playing a Class 4A team that clearly outsized them. Maybe it was the impenetrable defenses or just the fact that every shot kissed the rim teasingly, but neither team could score.
The Rams struck first on a free throw by senior Kayla Wille, then the Huskies marched back to break the disappointed sighs from the crowd by knocking in their first bucket. Senior Chloe Veilleux added another free throw before senior Hannah Hayes entered the floor to take a bounce pass off a rebound for the Rams’ first field goal.
The score going into the second quarter was 6-4, and it seemed like a change of pace loomed ahead.
The Huskies had the basket covered, and since the Rams were unable to break down for easy layups, Veilleux started taking shots from the arch, making three 3-pointers to power the Rams ahead. She added one 2-point basket by driving down the middle of the key and making a straight-on shot.
But other than Veilleux’s shots, Wille was the only other girl to score, adding a layup before the half. But the Rams limited the Huskies to just three layups, taking a 17-12 lead.
The Battle Mountain’s only points in the second quarter came from sophomore Gabriela Caballero and in the third quarter. She lit a spark in the Huskies’ offense.
Caballero powered the Huskies back into contention with two 3-pointers and a layup. Huskies sophomore Alden Penington added another 3-pointer to the effort. Veilleux was still adding 3’s while sophomore Makinley Parker continued to be sent to the free-throw line and Wille added a layup.
The shots were falling, and Soroco pulled ahead, but Battle Mountain stayed close behind, 30-28 to conclude the third quarter.
Free throws by Huskies junior Maggie Skidmore and senior Claire Krueger tied the game up 30-30 in the fourth, but junior Kourtney Bruner was quick to light the scoreboard for the Rams, 32-30.
The Rams continued a back-and-forth battle down the court. Cabarello added another three, while the Rams started to drive to the basket, extending a 40-35 lead. Strong defensive rebounding and forced turnovers were working in the Rams’ favor, and the Huskies called timeouts at 2 minutes and 1:13 to buy time to regroup.
When the fouls start pouring in, the game looked over. Rams junior Kourtney Bruner made one with less than a minute left, adding to earlier efforts by Veilleux and Parker, but a 3-pointer by Krueger put the Huskies within three points with 28 seconds left.
Bruner launched a ball down to Veilleux, who passed to Soroco freshman Kaydence Bruner. Kayedence fell to the ground as she made a basket to extend a 5-point lead. Caballero attempted one more 3-pointer before the Rams regained possession and Kaydence retired the game 44-38 on a free throw.
Veilleux finished the game with a team-high of 19 points, including four 3-pointers, and making five of six free throws. Wille had 9 points, including two 3-pointers, going three of four from the line.
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