Soroco girls basketball roll up Hayden again

Joel Reichenberger
Soroco's Kellen Garrity, left, Kali Constine and Laramie Parker squeeze out Hayden's Dawson Herfurth on Friday night in a battle for a rebound. The game was close early, but Soroco pulled away from Hayden in the second half for a 68-39 victory.
Joel Reichenberger

— The Hayden High School girls basketball team looked good Friday night, playing aggressive and more mature than it has in recent seasons.

But Soroco found a way to always be a step better, and after answering every blow from the Tigers early, the Rams overwhelmed Hayden late for a 68-39 win in Oak Creek.

Soroco went winless in a season series against Hayden as recently as 2012, but it hasn’t lost since, winning the last five matchups during the past two years by an average of 25 points.

That trend didn’t change Friday, though early it appeared this one could at least be interesting to the end.

Hayden trailed by two after one quarter and was within single digits as halftime approached.

The Tigers were paced by Kara Cozzens and Taylor Hagar, who each scored 11.

“I was not disappointed at all,” Hayden coach Michelle Wilkie said. “That first half, the girls played great. … With what we needed to do, we were successful tonight.”

Soroco was just too much as the game wore on, using stiff defense, opportunistic offense and lots and lots of hustle.

Briana Peterson came up big, with 22 points, and everywhere the team benefited as it fought for rebounds, leapt out of bounds chasing loose balls and racked up turnovers with aggressive defense.

Hayden focused its defense on slowing leading scorers Peterson, Jessica Rossi and DaKota Bruner, and for the latter two, it was mostly successful.

Soroco flexed the muscle of its depth, however, and points came from up and down the roster.

Morgan George drained three 3-point shots to finish with 11 points. Hayley Johnson hit a trey in the second half and finished with seven points. Bruner came through for eight, and Rossi had 11.

Nine players scored for Soroco.

“Where did Morgan come from?” Wilkie said, considering Soroco’s depth. “If someone’s trying to shut down some of your players, others step up, and that’s what happened for Soroco.”

Hayden scored just three points in the third quarter but was better in the fourth, getting eight from Darian Murphy alone.

Still, the Rams had put the game away.

“Teams get tired when they play against us,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “Our girls work hard. They really play hard.”

Hayden, 3-5, plays at home Saturday against Vail Christian, 4-2.

The Rams, 6-1, have a tough one Saturday on the road against 5-2 West Grand.

“That’s a big one. They’re a good team,” Bruner said. “We’re going to have to go play our best game of the year we’ve play so far, but our girls will be ready.”

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

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