By: Shawn O’Brate
FREMONT COUNTY –The first day of the 1A and 2A Regional Tournaments took place on Thursday with the 1A West playing in Lander and the 2A West playing in Riverton. Both Fremont County locations carried a slew of great games featuring teams from the county, but there were some teams that came out of day one as serious winners capable of competing deep into this tournament and the next.
First off, in Lander, the Dubois Rams went to overtime against Farson-Eden. This was the first of a couple overtime games featuring Fremont County with this one ending in a ten point loss against their conference opponent.
Dubois, the two-seed in the Northwest, losing to Farson-Eden, a three-seed in the Southwest, means they would have to move on to Riverside early Friday morning.
As for the girls, the Northwest’s three-seed, they lost by eleven to the two-seed from the Southwest conference in a game that got away from the Lady Rams late. Their 50-39 loss to Encampment meant that the Lady Rams had to finish the weekend in the bottom bracket. Their game against Little Snake River, and any games after that, will be covered in Wednesday’s edition of Fremont County Sports.
The 2A West Regional Tournament took place in Riverton at both the High School and Middle School, with girls and boys showing off their skills and clawing toward that trophy on both courts.
After strong seasons for the Chiefs and the Lady Chiefs this season, resulting in number-one seed for both, they had weeks between their last games as last week’s were canceled and many practices were canceled with snow days. So, needless to say, the two Wyoming Indian teams were coming in rather rusty.
The Lady Chiefs, ranked #1 overall in the 2A Class, entered the weekend as the heavy favorites and showed why in their first game of the tournament against the Greybull Lady Buffaloes. Senior Layla C’Bearing put up eight points in the first half alongside teammate Michaela Hiwalker who put up 10 points before the buzzer.
Wyoming Indian entered halftime up by 10, 26-16, and played neck-and-neck with Greybull for the rest of the game. This showed as the third quarter saw the Lady Chiefs score 14 while Greybull put up 13 in the same time.
Coach Aleta Moss’ Lady Chiefs kept their lead solid for the rest of the game, eventually winning by a score 51-42 over the fourth-seeded Lady Buffaloes.
“It was kind of hard for us with two days (of) no school, no practice,” Coach Moss said.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming Indian Chiefs (11-9, 4-2) entered the 2A West Regionals Tournament as the number-one seed in the Southwest and were taking on a familiar face in Shoshoni (8-12, 0-6) came in on the bottom of the Northwest and were coming off a five-game losing streak.
All this meant nothing to Coach Jonathan Wakelin and his Wranglers, and it showed late in the first quarter when they saw themselves down early but climbed back to nearly tie the game, 15-14, after eight minutes of play. The next quarter saw Shoshoni find their hot streak as they scored the first 11 points to go up 10 early, they would not lose that lead for the rest of the game.
After a few scoring bursts by Wyoming Indian the Chiefs got within six twice over the next three and a half quarters, the game would ultimately end in a 20-point win for the Wranglers, 61-41, in a huge upset for Coach Wakelin and his team. Coach Craig Ferris’ Chiefs seemed off for much of the last three quarters, and it was apparent that the lack of time on the court had made an impact.
“Something we talked about before the game was just getting contributions from all players that stepped on the floor,” Coach Wakelin continued. “These guys don’t care who gets the credit … all they want to do is win. Their ultimate goal is to get to state and win a couple games … that’s what’s so great about this team, they’re unselfish and tonight it showed.
Wranglers senior Trey Fike ended the game as the top scorer with 23 points, putting up 13 in the first half and 10 in the second, alongside senior teammate Alex Mills who dropped 12 on the Chiefs.
The Wind River Cougars (12-8, 5-1) finished the regular season on top of the Northwest quadrant of the 2A Class and had high hopes with their senior-laden roster, much like their Wrangler rivals down the road, all season long.
On the other side of the bench, the Lady Cougars (7-14, 3-3) had an up and down season but ended on a high note compared to their 2-10 start to the year. Sadly, two weeks ago the Lady Cougars’ leading rebounder (6.2 per game) and second-highest scorer on the team (8.4 points per game) Allison Tidzump broke her arm on the court and was not available for the finale of her junior season.
The Lady Cougars played first on Thursday as the number two-seed in the Northwest quadrant, going up against the Big Piney Lady Punchers (8-12, 2-4) who entered as the three-seed in the Southwest.
Coach Kline’s girls started off well, going up 6-0 and eventually ending the first quarter ahead of the Lady Punchers and would have all five starters score in the first quarter with Jonae Spoonhunter scoring the most with three. Right before halftime the Lady Punchers caught up with their opponents from Fremont County and tied it 18-18 before Wind River found a way to lead at halftime, 22-21.
After halftime, the Lady Punchers took a quick lead and never gave it back up even though it did get close. It never got any closer until late in the fourth when Spoonhunter rebounded her own missed shot, down two, and put up a six-foot floater to bring it within two with just over two minutes left in the game.
Wind River would go on to lose by five, 47-42, Natalie Walker led the Lady Cougars with eleven points in the game while Big Piney had two players with fourteen or more points.
Wind River’s boys had quite a close game themselves, possibly ending the day with the most intense and dramatic ending, as they took on the number four team from the Southwest in Kemmerer.
It was a back-and-forth game as there were 14 lead changes and five ties in the first half alone. The second half would not be any different, even with multiple Cougars’ starters fouling out before the final two minutes when they found themselves up 70-68.
Right before the end of regulation there were three starters combined on the bench with five fouls, leading to both teams pulling out everything they had from whoever could provide. This came through loudly as Kemmerer sophomore Gabe Wiswell scored his first points of the game with under a minute left.
With 11.9 seconds left in the game the game was tied 75-75 thanks to some key free throws by senior JayCee Herbert. The game would end with the same time and head to overtime, a fitting end for the last game of the day.
Wombley Romero started off the overtime with two points, then four straight points for Kemmerer would give them the 79-77 lead while Wind River’s reserves continued to be forced on the court. Two more clutch free throws by Herbert would put it at 79-79 with less than 80 seconds left in overtime, that would be followed by a strong drive to the hole and subsequent two-point layup by senior Wylie Shearer who would foul out shortly after.
After some free throws by Kemmerer it was a smaller group of Cougars on the court as four of the five starters found their way to the bench with no way of getting back on the hardwood. The score was tied 81-81 with 12.8 seconds to go in the game, that was when Herbert once again stepped up as he drove straight to the hole and scored before the Cougars’ defense forced Kemmerer to put up a prayer from beyond the arc which ended in an airball.
Wind River won the game of the day, and perhaps the season, by a score of 83-81 in overtime and showed why they should not be counted out of big games. Herbert put up four points in overtime, totaling up to 25 in the game for the only starter to not foul out.
The Shoshoni Lady Blue (11-11, 2-4) entered the weekend with one of the best shooting percentages in all of 2A (36.3%) but entered the Regional Tournament as the number three seed in the Northwest quadrant. They took on the Kemmerer Lady Rangers to begin the tournament and were desperate for their leading scorer, and top scorer in the 2A Class, Hailey Donelson to have a good game.
Donelson, who led the 2A in points per game (14.8), started off the game slow with just two points while junior forward Tania St. Clair took the bulk of the load as she dropped five into the bottom of the bucket from under the basket and the free throw line.
Both girls would be the only Lady Blue to score in the first three quarters as Donelson ended the first 24 minutes with six points while St. Clair did the same, leading to only 12 points on the board for Shoshoni entering the fourth. Kemmerer, on the other hand, had 18 points in the first two quarters and led the Lady Wranglers by eleven, 37-26, heading into the fourth.
With only five points scored in the middle quarters it was apparent that Kemmerer should have been running away with the ball but they got in their own way just as much as Shoshoni got in their own ways. Fifteen turnovers for the Lady Rangers allowed Shoshoni to feel like they were never out of the game but with poor rebounding, serious lack of scoring opportunities, and 25 total turnovers of their own, it just was not in the cards for the Lady Wranglers.
St. Clair would end with 17 points while Donelson finished with seven. The only other Lady Wrangler to score would be senior point guard Sonja Post late in the fourth quarter.
Shoshoni would go on to play St. Stephens early Friday morning. For more pictures, quotes and stats from the games on Friday (and possibly Saturday) for Shoshoni, be sure to check out the Ranger or Lander Journal this Wednesday for a full recap of the rest of the Regional tournament.
SHOSHONI BOYS GAME ABOVE IN WYOMING INDIAN’S STORY
After a long year filled with serious, criminal issues in the administration it was glaringly obvious that the St. Stephens Eagles (5-12, 2-4) and Lady Eagles (1-14, 0-6) needed to do well in the Regional Tournament and while one team definitely took that call to arms, the other did not.
It all started with the Lady Eagles taking on the number two seed in the whole tournament, Rocky Mountain (14-6, 6-0), who quickly put an end to any hope that St. Stephens had of making a Cinderella run at the trophy.
The game was never particularly close and would end with Rocky Mountain winning by 31 points, 64-33, and pushed the Lady Eagles down to the bottom bracket where they would take on Shoshoni early in the morning on Friday.
As for the boys, they may have entered the tournament as the bottom seed of the Southwest quadrant but they were never meant to be counted out. They played out of their mind in big games, like in their victory over their rivals the Wyoming Indian Chiefs earlier this year, and they proved they should not be overlooked with their game against Rocky Mountain (11-9, 5-1).
They came out firing, especially their captain and leading scorer Tyren Ridgley (16.1 points per game) who came out and dropped six of the Eagles’ eleven points in the first quarter. Those first eight minutes would end with Rocky Mountain up by a score of 16-11 but the game didn’t feel like the Grizzlies ever led thanks to the Eagles home-crowd advantage.
Raucous screaming and animated anger at foul calls and Grizzlies’ points gave the Eagles a serious home court feel, and it had its desired effect on the Rocky Mountain team and their coaches.
The Grizzlies’ team would enter halftime up 29-20 but the Eagles’ never felt like they were ever out of the game. The third quarter would reinforce that as they outscored the Rocky Mountain 16-9 thanks to a pair of three-pointers and sticky defense that scored five turnovers.
At the end of three quarters the Eagles were only down two, 38-36, and they had the momentum rolling strong into the fourth. The Grizzlies would keep their lead within three for much of the fourth but the Eagles were always close, sniffing a first-round upset, but sophomore Stephen Lonedog hit a huge three with 4:40 to go in the fourth after injuring his ankle in the first quarter. Free throws became the name of the game as Lonedog would hit seven-of-nine from the charity strip and the rest of the Eagles’ team would go three-for-five.
Back-and-forth the game would go, free throws keeping both teams from drowning late in the game and keeping the clock stopped. With less than 20 seconds to go the Eagles were up 55-53 with Rocky Mountain on the line. Luckily, the Grizzlies’ senior forward Nate Minemyer missed his final three free throws and essentially secured the upset victory for the Eagles, 58-53.
Coach Mike Jenkins, who has stuck with St. Stephens through everything the past year, was as happy as could be after the game even if his demeanor didn’t scream excitement.
“I told them that if they wanted it that bad to play tougher (defense) and start making their easy shots,” Coach Jenkins said solemnly after the victory. “Free throws count too.”
St. Stephens moved on to the marquee game of the week the next night, taking on Shoshoni at 7:30 PM. More information, including more quotes, photos and stats from the game can be read in the Wind River News, as well as the Ranger and Lander Journal this upcoming Wednesday.
For more information, pictures, quotes and statistics from these games and more be sure to check out the weekend edition of the Ranger or Lander Journal. You can start or continue your subscription today at 421 E. Main Street in Riverton!
FREMONT COUNTY – With the winter sports season winding down it’s easy to get lost in the amount of tournaments and games there are in any given week, which is why this week’s wrestling recap spans across the state of Wyoming as multiple Regional Tournaments took place. First up, the 2A West Regional Tournament, which took place in Cokeville and hosted Fremont County teams like Wind River, Shoshoni, Wyoming Indian and Dubois. Shoshoni’s Ethan Tarango (fourth place) and Tryzmen Green (sixth) completed their bouts in the 113-pound weight class and led all Fremont County wrestlers in that division. That would be only top place finish for Fremont County in the 3A West Regional Tournament. Shoshoni’s Brueklyn Truempler, much like her older brother, dominated the 130 pound weight class with three straight wins including a win by decision in the championship match over Kemmerer’s Kylee Batista.1 month ago WyoToday.com
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