Vail Christian and Soroco play to a cool split
EDWARDS – Everything was cool Saturday when Soroco and Vail Christian basketball got together
“Yeah, that was cool,” Soroco’s Brandi Roundtree said of her two 3s in the third quarter, which all but ended the girls’ game, with the Rams coming away with a 62-33 victory Saturday.
“No, that wasn’t cool at all, Brandi,” Vail Christian girls coach Doug Bruce interrupted in a friendly way. “We worked really hard to get that game back within 10 points.”
Coolness is obviously in the eye of the beholder.
And if so, everyone in blue, white and silver enjoyed the nightcap, as Vail Christian posted a single-game school record for points in the Saints’ boys’ 85-57 win over Soroco.
“That was pretty cool,” Vail Christian sophomore Zach Linder said. “All the guys on the bench were pretty stoked that all the JV guys got to be a part of that.”
Bowles lifts Saints
It was speed versus size in the boys game, and the former won.
The Saints’ quickness as well as a half-court press got the Rams in foul trouble – Soroco had 10 team fouls with 5:45 left in the first half.
“We were very concerned about their quickness,” Soroco coach Andy Johnson said. “I thought we neutralized well for 21⁄2 quarters. Then we got back in foul trouble. We knew they wouldn’t quit. That’s how they’ve got to win ball games. If it’s (a) half-court (game), it’s us.”
With three of Soroco’s starters with four fouls early in the third, the Saints ran wild, including Robby Bowles, who got the hot touch in the third. He canned four shots from beyond the arc in such a fashion that most of the Saints bench had its collective arms in the air when the sophomore kept putting them up.
Bowles finished with 29 points, and everyone else in Saints’ white seemed to be going off. Fernando Hernandez had 18; Linder, 14; Teller Emmer, eight; and Gunnar Wilson, seven.
Also cool was Vail Christian’s work in the paint against a good-sized Soroco squad. The Rams did not have multiple chances on the offensive end, a point of pride for the Saints, who worked on that aspect this week.
“Coach in practice emphasized rebounding a lot,” Linder said. “We put the (plastic) bubble on the basket, and we just did rebounding drills all practice. We also did a lot of box-out drills.”
A nice sign for Vail Christian (4-4) is that it got contributions from players such as Austin Ellsworth, Nigel Johnson, Kevin Boselli and Brandon Currey, which gives the Saints depth for playing up-tempo.
Nic Paxton and Ben Strait topped the Rams (2-5) with 12 points.
Soroco ladies get the jump
Friday night after the Rams fell to Rangely, Soroco’s Roundtree went back into her school’s auxiliary gym and worked on her shot.
“My shot was just off. I wasn’t contributing to the team as much,” she said. “So I just wanted to work on my shot for this game.”
That seemed to work, as Roundtree sank the aforementioned 3s to seal her team’s win Saturday. A lot of other things worked well for the Rams (4-2).
Soroco’s press upset Vail Christian’s tempo, making the Saints play faster than they wanted, producing turnovers and otherwise fruitless offensive possessions. Meanwhile, the Rams just zipped the ball through Vail Christian’s zone to their posts, including junior Madison George, who had a game-high 17 points.
“It’s something we’ve been working on,” Rams coach David Bruner said. “We also took care of the ball tonight, which was something we’ve been working on. They made sharp, crisp passes, and we were able to make shots when we got it underneath.”
Soroco led, 15-10, at the end of the first and 27-16 at the half and kept going.
“We let their press speed us up and had a lot of turnovers early, which contributed to them getting away from us early,” Bruce said. “At halftime, we told our girls, ‘We haven’t taken the shots we want to take. Instead, we’ve given them five uncontested layups on the other end.'”
Vail Christian (5-3) got it to 32-22 with 1:44 left in the third quarter before Roundtree, who finished with 13 points, sank her two 3s.
Though they are league opponents, both of Saturday’s games were nonconference contests between the two schools. The official league games are Feb. 8 up in Oak Creek.
In the meantime, the Saints head to Rangely on Thursday for a set of games, while the Rams are at Plateau Valley on Friday, all of which will undoubtedly be cool.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.