Saints girls stun Soroco, 50-48
OAK CREEK — Its back firmly against the wall, at least concerning league-championship consideration, the Vail Christian girls basketball team slapped Soroco with its first Class 2A loss of the season on Thursday night.
The Rams had several final-minute opportunities to take the lead or tie the game, but the Saints dodged every bullet and emerged with a standings-rattling 50-48 victory in Oak Creek.
“It’s huge,” said Vail coach Beth Raitt, stepping away from a locker room still ringing with celebration.
“It’s a huge rivalry, and we always come out short,” she said. “This is extremely emotional and exciting.”
Soroco’s final opportunity to force a tie may not have been its best chance, but it was certainly its most dramatic.
Rams’ junior DaKota Bruner grabbed an offensive rebound after a mad, last-second scramble down the court led to an errant shot. She drew a foul as she went back up and, down by two, had two free throws with no time remaining.
She missed the first.
“I wouldn’t have put anyone else on that free-throw line,” Soroco coach David Bruner said.
That came after several other misfires, turnovers or point-blank misses in the lane from Soroco, but the Rams were only looking for those desperate baskets after Vail Christian blew up in the third quarter.
Big third quarter
Trailing by five at halftime, the Saints scored 20 points in the third quarter to take a five-point lead. Soroco did manage to respond in the fourth, even recapturing the lead, but the Saints did enough to hang on to their momentum, then hang on to the game.
The win was the team’s first in either coach’s tenure. Bruner, eight years in at Soroco, had been 16-0 in the series.
“Our inexperience showed a little bit, truthfully,” Bruner said. “We had a few girls dribble it off their foot, throw it away. When you’re playing and you’re in the crunch, sometimes that stuff happens. That’s part of it.”
Kass Baker, Jessica Hartley and Marti Schmidt each scored 12 points to lead Vail. Briana Peterson had 17 and Charlie Veilleux 13 for Soroco.
“We spread it out more on offense,” Raitt said. “We started to play our game, it came together and we got better looks.”
The result brings the high-flying Rams back down to earth in the league race. With one loss, they’re now tied with with West Grand, which they visit for a crucial Saturday showdown. Soroco, 12-2, edged the Mustangs in Oak Creek earlier this month, 61-58, giving that team its only loss of the season.
Thursday’s win also opened the door for Vail, with two league losses, to get back into the conversation. It now sits one game behind West Grand and Soroco and will be tied with Saturday’s loser.
Vail, 8-4, is at Hayden on Saturday.
“It’ll show a lot about us, going to West Grand,” David Bruner said.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.