Soroco basketball preview: Girls look to make playoffs again |

Soroco basketball preview: Girls look to make playoffs again

Soroco sophomore Shelby Geiger avoids a Hayden player during a 2020 game.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Many teams are just happy to play this year. The Soroco High School girls basketball team, while thankful to be able to play, wants more than just to have fun.

“It’s pretty serious for us. We haven’t changed our expectations at all,” head coach David Bruner said. “I expect to be one of the top teams in the league, again. That’s where we’re at.”

Soroco always goes into the season with the same goal and usually meets it. Last year, the Rams were 15-9 and fell to Holyoke, 41-32, in the 2A Region 1 championship.

The team is hoping the season is still intact come playoffs, but they don’t have to hope that they’ll be there. They know they can make it.

“We’re not super tall this year, but it’s been that way the last 10 years. We’ll have to use the strengths we have,” Bruner said.

At 5-foot-8 senior Makinley Parker is one of the tallest Rams on the court and uses her size to be a strong defender. She’s also known to get into a shooting groove every now and then.

Other key returners include juniors Kayedence Bruner, Peyton Parker, Sophia Benjamin and Eden Mayer, as well as sophomore Shelby Geiger who made big strides as a freshman last winter.

“Peyton Parker, she’ll play an important role. She’s improved a lot,” said Bruner. “She wasn’t able to play much as a freshman because she had some back issues. She was able to play last year so it was kind of like she was a freshman, as a sophomore. I expect her to get a lot better.”

Bruner said he expects Geiger to be a little more physical now that she’s more experienced, and estimated that Mayer will be a “surprise” for some people.

Having so much talent will prove helpful, since playing with masks make players need more frequent rests. The Rams deep bench could be a difference maker this season.

Rams boys want a championship

Soroco senior Liam Yaconiello goes up for a layup during a 2020 home game against South Park.

After posting an 11-11 record last winter, it was safe to say a lot of work sat between the Soroco boys basketball team and any sort of championship. The Rams no longer think that’s the case.

“I just had one of my juniors tell me we want to win a state championship,” Soroco head coach Jody Gregory said. “We want to make it to state for sure. Every team does, that’s every team’s goal, but we have a good chance this year. We have a good core of kids.”

Soroco will be led by four returning starters: seniors Tyler Koler-Wixom and Liam Yaconiello, as well as juniors Joey McLaughlin and Jed Kirby. All four were large contributors last year, with Yaconiello using his long frame to lead the team in scoring in many games.

Between their height and their ability to consistently shoot well, the Rams could be a force to be reckoned with this winter.

Senior Gregory Rubalcaba, junior Luke Duksa and sophomore Bradley Hoskinson are expected to be strong additions to the varsity roster.

Getting to state is harder than ever this year thanks to compacted schedules and fewer teams making the cut as a means to keep playoff brackets smaller. Just 24 teams will make the postseason. Both regionals and the state tournament will be single-elimination.

That journey begins Friday with a home game against Routt County rival, Hayden High School.

“It’ll be a good game,” Gregory said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re up and they’re down or vice versa, if they’re up and we’re down, it’s always a tough game. We’re always up for each other. It’ll be fun.”

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