Young and fast Rams aim for regionals |

Young and fast Rams aim for regionals

Soroco senior Nick Estes charges between Meeker defenders to get to the basket during a 2019 district quarterfinal game.
Leah Vann

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — To end the 2018-19 season, the Soroco High School boys basketball team lost by 7 points in the consolation bracket of the Class 2A District 5 tournament. This year, under new head coach Jody Gregory, the Rams are aiming for the next level.

“We want to be at regionals,” Gregory said. “That’s the minimal goal right there.”

In order to get there, Gregory will call upon his four seniors, trio of juniors and talented bunch of sophomores, which he describes as young and fast.

For the last three years, Gregory was an assistant coach, so the transition to head coach has been a smooth one as he knows the players and they know him.

Junior Liam Yaconiello is a strong shooter for the team as is senior Nick Estes. Senior Jesse Koler, junior Tyler Wixom and sophomores Jed Kirby and Joey McLaughlin are also frequent starters.

Aside from their quickness in transition, Gregory thinks the Rams will be a contender because they’re capable on both sides of the ball. 

“We had a rough weekend shooting, but we usually shoot the ball well,” Gregory said. “Our defense is pretty stout, too.”

Soroco sophomore Liam Yaconiello dribbles behind his back against Meeker on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Soroco High School.
Leah Vann

Soroco runs a man defense, which the players are pretty confident and consistent in executing, but there is still room for improvement in running the zone offense.

“We get flat and don’t move like we need to when we go into a zone,” Gregory said. 

The team isn’t the tallest, but average height combined with athleticism should allow Soroco to match up well with regional teams.

So far this fall, the Rams are 2-3 after attending the Vail Christian Tip-off and the Meeker Shootout. Soroco is averaging 41.4 points per game and relinquishing 54.6. 

“They’ve never given up once,” Gregory said. “They’ve played the whole game. We’ve won two tight games. In the past, we may have let those slip away, but this year, they’re keeping right there and playing them.”

In 2019, the Rams went 11-11 and 7-5 against league opponents. Six of their losses were by 10 points or less, like a 49-40 loss to Vail Christian. The rest were fairly ugly blowouts, like the 70-41 loss to De Beque.

Gregory is already looking forward to when Soroco takes on those teams again. The Rams played Vail Christian at a tournament in early December, falling 66-39, but they’ll meet again for the season finally in Oak Creek on Feb. 21. 

Soroco will travel to De Beque on Jan. 17 to face the Dragons, who are 4-0.

The Rams will host Caprock at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in their first home contest of the year.

Soroco boys basketball

  • Dec. 6: Soroco at VCHS Tip-off: L vs. Vail Christian 66-39, W vs. Cedaredge 46-42
  • Dec. 12-14: Soroco at Meeker Shootout, L vs. Rifle 59-33, L vs. Aspen 65-35, W vs. Dolores 54-43
  • Dec. 20: Vail Mountain at Soroco, L 50-42
  • Dec. 21: Caprock at Soroco, W 75-42
  • Jan. 4: South Park at Soroco, W 53-41
  • Jan. 11: Soroco at West Grand, L 61-42
  • Jan. 17: Soroco at DeBeque, L 65-41
  • Jan. 24: Hayden at Soroco, W 58-52
  • Jan. 25: Soroco at North Park, W 55-42
  • Jan. 31: Rangely at Soroco, L 66-60
  • Feb. 1: Soroco at Addenbrooke Academy, W 77-63
  • Feb. 8: Soroco at Paonia, W 59-54
  • Feb. 11: Soroco at Hotchkiss, L 77-46
  • Feb. 13: Soroco at Meeker, L 60-53
  • Feb. 14: Plateau Valley at Soroco, W 70-64
  • Feb. 21: Vail Christian at Soroco

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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