Soroco boys turn tables on Vail Christian boys
Special to the Daily
Yes, the Saints’ Sheldoon Kuhns might have been overly creative on talking about how his team was “tired.” That doesn’t pass the sniff test as Joel Reichenberger, of the Steamboat Pilot, writes.
Kuhns does have two points in his favor, however.
• Yes, 11 Saints were and are listed as varsity for every game in the scorebook. But as those who attend Saints’ home games know, some of the sophomores and all freshmen are double-rostered. Those who are double-rostered play a lot of junior varsity as they need to prepare for the next level. Kuhns must be mindful that those players on taxi squad may not play more than 95 quarters at either level in a season by CHSAA rule. That was a consideration as to why Kuhns didn’t play other players.
•The Saints beat Soroco, 65-36, earlier this month in Edwards. The first Gore League tiebreaker is head-to-head between the two teams, which is now tied. The next tiebreak is record against other teams in the Gore. If things go to form — and there’s no guarantee — the Saints and Rams will remain tied. The final tiebreaker is point differential between the two teams in their two games. To prevent teams from running up the score, point differential is capped at 25. So while the Saints won by 29 in Edwards, that’s a 25-point win for Vail Christian. With the Saints down by 18 with three minutes left, Kuhns knew the situation — he knew the tiebreakers going in — and had his team play in an unconventional, and, nonetheless, legal way. File it under the category of “One sees something new every time” in high school sports.
OAK CREEK — A difficult-to-comprehend game was capped by a difficult-to-comprehend ending on Thursday night in Oak Creek, but the result was a huge win for the Soroco boys basketball team.
The Rams had, 16 days prior, been straight up blown out in a visit to play at Vail Christian.
Soroco turned the tables Thursday night against the Saints, controlling the game start to finish — or, to almost the finish, as it turned out.
Soroco won handily, 61-43. It was a 47-point swing from the last time the two teams met.
Figure that out.
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“We were more prepared than last time,” said Soroco senior Eric Logan, who led the way with a game-high 23 points. “It was definitely relieving. It feels good to beat them.”
Even more curious, however: the Saints quit with three minutes remaining, standing atop the key with the ball and letting the final 10 percent of the game tick away.
The move came after they had pieced together some of their best basketball of the second half, cutting a lead that had swelled to 23 points to 13. After trailing big throughout the game — by nine after eight minutes and by 19 at half — Vail seemed on the verge of making things exciting down the stretch.
Soroco got one more flurry of baskets, however, blew the lead back to 18, and with that, Vail cashed out.
“We were tired. We needed a rest,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “That one had gotten away from us. We have to get a league win on Saturday.”
His team, which, by the official scorebook, used seven of its 11 listed varsity players Thursday, most recently played last weekend, picking up a 75-29 home win against North Park. It next plays Saturday at Hayden, who hasn’t won a game this season.
Whatever the motivation, ending the game three minutes early may have some strategic ramifications. The teams are now tied atop the league, both with 5-1 records. If the season ends this way, then Vail Christian will hold the tiebreaker over the Rams thanks to owning the point differential in the series by 11 points.
Could the Rams have made up those 11 points in the three remaining minutes?
“We were going to give it a try, anyway,” Logan said.
Logan was a major factor in the Rams building a lead in which point differential could be a consideration.
He had 16 in the first half when Soroco built its big lead, both forcing his way to the hoop in the lane and scoring from outside.
“Eric really had a great game,” Kuhns said. “He didn’t have that kind of game the last time we played, but he’s that kind of player.”
Warren Hayes and Ben Kelley scored 10 each for Soroco. Seb Moritz, Logan Raitt and Bryan Trujillo each scored eight for Vail.
Soroco’s now 11-3 after the win and travels Saturday to play at West Grand. Vail dropped to 8-4.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter at @JReich9.