Soroco holds off Hayden in rivalry game
OAK CREEK — Hayden High School boys came so close, so many times.
To start the fourth, the Tigers were only down by three, 33-30. Late in the same frame, they got as close as 45-42. That tying shot never fell though, as Soroco High School went on to win 58-52 at home on Friday, Jan. 24.
The Tigers picked up almost every defensive rebound they could, but not enough of them resulted in points on the other end.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Hayden head coach Mike Luppes. “We played a decent ball game, we worked hard, we shot the ball decently. We’d get close, and we couldn’t get the defensive stop, or we couldn’t get that next score, and they did.”
The fact that Hayden couldn’t close the gap says more about the Rams tenacity than anything else.
“I got to give it up to (Soroco head coach Jody Gregory) because he always calms us down, gets us back in a rhythm,” said senior Jesse Koler. “It always starts with a defensive stop, is what he says. We get the defensive stop, then go on offense, do what needs to be done.”
Multiple baskets from Koler extended the lead to 47-42 at the end of the third.
“That’s probably the best full game we’ve put together all season,” said Gregory. “We’ve had halves. As a full game, that’s the best they’ve played all season.”
Gregory said his team shot smart and efficiently, which allowed three players to hit double digits. Senior Nick Estes paced Soroco with 15, while Koler added 14 and Jed Kirby contributed 11.
“In the second half, they slowed the ball down and played their game and made Hayden play our game,” Gregory said of his players. “It worked for us tonight.”
Foul trouble could have foiled the victory for the Rams, who were in double digits late in the fourth.
Hayden junior Liam Frentress and senior Reese Kern both tacked on two free throws in the late minutes to make the score 56-52. Perhaps a few more trips to the charity stripe would have changed the result of the game.
“We’d hoped to get to the free throw line a little more,” said Luppes. “A couple calls, we didn’t get them and we didn’t get penetration going to the basket like we wanted to at that time.”
Soroco 58, Hayden 52
H 16 12 19 10 – 52
S 19 14 14 11 – 58
Scoring: H, Reese Kern 18, Hunter Slowik 12, Liam Frentress 10, Andrew Kleckler 6, Keaton Knez 2, Angel Valdez 2, Ty Blackwell 2. S, Nick Estes 15, Jesse Koler 14, Jed Kirby 11, Tyler Koler-Wixom 5, Luke Duksa 2.
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