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Soroco girls tout experience

Melinda Mawdsley

The cold and flu season sweeping through Colorado hit South Routt hard.

Soroco girls basketball coach Bob Johnson has been working with the team for more than a decade. He said he has never had a more difficult time fielding a practice squad than he had during the early weeks of this season.

“Everyone has been sick,” Johnson said. “At one point, I didn’t have enough kids to even scrimmage.”

But Johnson and the Soroco squad know their opponents won’t be tossing any tissues their way.

The Rams open the 2003-04 season at 6:30 p.m. today against DeBeque at the two-day DeBeque Tournament. While Soroco has had limited numbers of full practices because of illness, those on the varsity are familiar with Johnson’s expectations.

“We are a pretty short team so our strength will have to be defense,” Johnson said. “I stress defense quite a bit, half court especially.”

Johnson prefers to use a match-up combination of man and zone that sometimes confuses opponents. Through the defense, the Rams hope to create turnovers and easy shots in transition to offset their lack of height.

Johnson said the team has capable shooters but not sharpshooters on the perimeter so when the Rams do have to run their half-court offense, they will be patient and look for high-percentage shots.

Soroco welcomes returning starters in seniors Hallie Shiner and Kaleyne Gneiser. The Rams will look to seniors Chelsey Reynolds and Allegra Bonfiglio to provide leadership, as well.

Junior Paige Iacovetto will take over at point. She saw most of her action at the JV level last season.

“Paige is a smaller girl, but she’s quick,” Johnson said.

Much like the Soroco boys, the Soroco girls have a wealth of upperclassmen on the roster. Only three sophomores will suit up for the girls this season.

Johnson said he expects the team to make mistakes, particularly in the early weeks of the season. He just wants effort, hustle and aggressiveness to accompany any mistakes made.

The Rams’ only home game before the holiday break is Dec. 19 against North Park.

North Park is the easy pick to win the Western Slope this season.

“They are above everyone else,” Johnson said of the Wildcats. “The other teams will be pretty competitive. I think we’ll be competitive.”

–To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mailmmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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