No. 7 Soroco and No. 5 Cedaredge clash in epic Western Slope battle
OAK CREEK — Over the last couple of years, the Soroco High School and Cedaredge athletic teams have dominated the 2A Western Slope North and South conferences, facing their biggest challenges when seeing each other in any competition.
On Friday, Jan. 14, the girls basketball teams met in what was expected to be one of the most competitive games on either team’s schedule. One 42-41 Rams victory later, none of those expectations were disappointed.
Last year, in the conference crossover game, the previously 3A Bruins humbled the Rams, 59-27. This season, with both poised to make a postseason run, the teams didn’t have to wait until the end of the year to learn who would come out on top.
It was only right the game was decided in the final seconds on Friday night, with the No. 7 Rams upsetting the No. 5 Bruins.
“We’re now at the top of the league, which is awesome,” said senior Eden Mayer.
The visiting Bruins had surged in the third quarter and led for most of the second half.
Soroco senior Kayedence Bruner scored on a deep three that brought the Rams fans to life after a quiet quarter and a half. Free throws from senior Peyton Parker cut the lead to three, 41-38, with three minutes left to play. Free throws from senior Sophia Benjamin made it 41-40.
For 90 seconds, the Rams defense held strong, forcing the Bruins to incessantly pass. With 1:11 left, the refs called Cedaredge senior Megan Gastineau for a travel. The ball went to Soroco.
However, Soroco’s confidence had been shaken. Since the start of the second half, Soroco had hit the rim more often than not. Both teams were forcing each other to take low-percentage shots, but Soroco was also missing easy ones.
“We missed a lot of layups that we should have made,” Parker said. “Easy shots we should have made. It would have been a bigger point spread if we played better right off the bat.”
The home team had led 22-16 at halftime, but the lead was about as safe as a sedan on the shoulder of Interstate 70. Cedaredge scored seven straight to start the third, earning a 23-22 lead, its first of the night.
Despite all that had gone wrong, the Rams knew they could win. With less than a minute to play and the game on the line, Mayer confidently took a deep jump shot and sunk it, putting the Rams up 42-41.
“I was like, ‘I have to have confidence for this to go in,’” Mayer said. “She passed it out to me and I was like, ‘Eden you’ve been short every single shot. Use your legs.’ So I did, and it worked out.”
Frantic, Gastineau sped the ball towards the other end, ran into a Ram, and was called for a charge. The Rams bench erupted.
“It was a good game,” said coach David Bruner. “That’s how it should be with top teams in the state.”
Soroco 42, Cedaredge 41
C 9 7 16 9 – 41
S 12 10 6 14 – 42
Dec. 3-4 - at Meeker tournament, W 96-13, W 55-28, L 37-31
Dec. 10-11 - at Colorado Springs tournament, W 70-22, W 32-21
Dec. 17-18 - at Center tournament, W 63-8, W 50-31
Jan. 7 - at Olathe, W 52-20
Jan. 8 - at De Beque, W 67-19
Jan. 14 - vs. Cedaredge, W 42-41
Jan. 15 - vs. Rangely, 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 - vs. Little Snake River, 4 p.m.
Jan. 22 - at Meeker, 1 p.m.
Jan. 29 - vs. Caprock Academy, 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 - vs. Vail Christian, 4 p.m.
Feb. 5 - at West Grand, 1 p.m.
Feb. 11 - vs. Hayden, 4 p.m.
Feb. 18 - at North Park, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 19 - vs. Plateau Valley, 1 p.m.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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