Soroco girls fall short of state as Wiggins keeps shooters at bay
OAK CREEK — As the Soroco High School girls basketball team walked into the locker room after the regional final, the Rams fans were on their feet and applauding.
It wasn’t with elation and excitement, but solemn pride after seeing the No. 4 Rams put up a fight against No. 13 Wiggins.
The visiting Tigers led all afternoon, expanding on their advantage each quarter and earning a berth to the state tournament with a 43-37 win over Soroco on Saturday, March 5.
Even minutes after the tough loss, longtime Soroco head coach David Bruner was able to hold onto the positives: the team made it this far and finished with a 21-2 record.
“They won the most games that’s ever been won (at Soroco High School) and lost less than ever’s been lost in a season,” he said. “You can’t ask for more. … It’s our 13th winning season in a row.”
But for the seven seniors, it was hard to feel anything but sad.
“We weren’t done yet,” said senior Peyton Parker. “But the Lord had different plans.”
Parker and seniors Kayedence Bruner and Eden Mayer have been playing basketball together since second grade, and Bruner and Mayer were hoping to make state in four sports this year, already doing so in cross-country and volleyball.
“We love each other beyond end,” Parker said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play with any group of girls besides them.”
The Rams did everything they could to prevent the end of their season.
Up 34-23, the clock was Wiggins’ friend going into the fourth, so the Tigers slowed things down. Freshman Riley Hunt took two steps back from the three-point line and dribbled for a while, waiting for someone to engage her. Mayer stepped up to challenge and Wiggins started moving the ball. The Rams had to force action and make one big stop after another just to have a chance.
Senior Kayedence Bruner forced a turnover then proceeded to score a 3-pointer to bring the score to 36-31. That was her only score in the second half.
“They’ve got a lot of great shooters,” said Wiggins head coach Randy Wilson. “I thought (Kayedence Bruner) got away from us in the first half. We made some adjustments and did a good job covering her in the second, held her to three points. That really limits their offense, because she’s their spark plug.”
Scores from Soroco seniors Irene Hoff and Sophia Benjamin and sophomore Lexi Vandenburg brought it to 41-37. But there was only a minute to play.
Soroco fouled, but they had fouls to give, so it took three fouls and 30 seconds to get a Tiger to the free-throw line. She missed, but so did the Rams when they got the ball back.
“We couldn’t buy a shot,” Kayedence Bruner said.
No. 13 Wiggins 43, No. 4 Soroco 37
W 11 9 14 9 – 43
S 5 8 10 14 – 37
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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