Buffs lose on home floor to Rocky Mt.

by nathan oster

Win ‘em all at home. Ask Coach Jim Prather at the beginning of each season the key to winning, or at least finishing near the top of the Class 2A Northwest Conference, and he always emphasizes the importance of defending the home court.

The Buffs may well still achieve their goals, but after a heartbreaking four-point loss Thursday to Rocky Mountain, they will have some work to do in the remaining conference games on their schedule. Particularly in a Feb. 10 game at Cowley.

Greybull, which entered the game with just a single loss in conference play, trailed from wire to wire against the visiting Grizzlies, who used the 54-50 victory to solidify their hold on the No. 2 spot in the conference standings behind Lovell.

“Credit Rocky Mountain for a well-executed game plan,” Prather said. “I thought they did a nice job of exposing a lot of our weaknesses as a team — and good teams do that.  They played with a level of intensity that we didn’t match — and when you put that combination together, it usually spells trouble.”

The Buffs couldn’t overcome foul trouble — point guard Travis Sylvester picked up three in the first half, shooting guard Kason Clutter two — or the Grizzlies’ ability to hit from behind the three-point arc.  Greybull also had an off shooting night, hitting just 28 percent of their field goal attempts.

Bryce Ward, a sophomore, nailed three from long range, while Bill Despain, a sophomore, had two, and Michael Bernheisel, a junior, had one.  The Grizzlies had only one senior play — Derik Romero, who had eight points.

Austin Frazier, one of six Greybull seniors, poured in 20 points in the losing effort, but no one else was in double figures.  Neil Getzfreid finished with nine, Sylvester six before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

The game was marred by a technical foul called on the Greybull cheering section, but Prather emphasized that it “in no way changed the game.  Rocky Mountain was just the better team that night.”

Overall, it was a demoralizing night for the Buffs.

“Rocky didn’t do anything we didn’t expect … obviously, they just did it better than we were able to simulate in practice,” he said. “We learned a valuable lesson, I think.  We are not in a position where we can take anyone lightly.  If we don’t compete with 100 percent focus and effort, then anything can happen, and that includes a loss.”

The Buffs began putting the loss behind them on Friday with a 73-46 whipping of Thermopolis.  It was their second win of the season over the Bobcats, who are firmly entrenched in the cellar in the conference standings.

“We played better and I credit our team for that,” Prather said. “You never know how kids are going to respond after a disappointing loss, but I thought our kids took control of the game early, improved as the game wore on, and played with spark and intensity that was missing the previous night.”

Balanced scoring returned as well, with Sylvester netting 17, Hayden Goton and Clutter 14 apiece, Getzfreid 13 and Frazier 11 to lead the Buffs to the win.

The Buffs whipped the Bobcats on the boards, and in particular,  on the offensive glass, pulling down 24 caroms. Goton led with eight offensive boards and had 11 overall for the night.

“We had been working on that in practice,” Prather said. “(The 24 offensive rebounds) led to some nice, easy looks at the basket, and we were able to put some of those in the basket, where we had struggled with that the night before.”

With the weekend split, the Buffs ran their record to 12-4, 3-2 in conference play.

“We always say, better to have a setback in January than in February, and that’s how we are approaching it,” he said. “It was a valuable learning lesson. We’d have liked to have held the home court, but it didn’t work out that way.  The way things are shaping up, (that Feb. 10 meeting in Cowley) could be a game with a lot of significance.”

The Buffs will regroup this week with a full week of practice and just one game — a non-conference road test Saturday at Tongue River.  The boys’ JV game will start at 1 p.m., the varsity game at 4 p.m.

 

Rocky Mt. 9 15 15 15 — 54

Greybull 8 13 18 11 — 50

ROCKY MT — Bernhisel 2 2-6 7, Wocicki 1 2-2 4, Jewell 1 0-0 2, Despain 3 0-0 8, Winland 1 1-2 3, Romero 3 2-3 8, Simmons 2 3-4 7, Ward 5 2-3 15.  Totals 18 12-20 54.

GREYBULL — Payton Gonzalez 0 0-1 0, Austin Frazier 6 7-13 20, Wyatt Good 1 2-3 4, Kason Clutter 1 0-0 2, Travis Sylvester 3 0-1 6, Paul Stewart 0 2-4 2, Neil Getzfreid 3 3-3 9, Hayden Goton 1 1-2 3, Brady Shoemaker 1 2-2 4.  Totals 16-56 17-29 50.

3-POINT GOALS — Bernhisel, Despain 2, Ward 3;  Frazier.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 32 (Goton 6).  STEALS — Greybull 13 (Goton 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 7  (Frazier 4).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 19.

 

Thermopolis   8 15 12 11 — 46

Greybull 10 24 14 25 — 73

THERMOPOLIS — Thomas 1 2-4 5, Stromsvag 3 0-0 8, Andrews 2 0-0 4, King 1 0-0 2, Conger 6 0-0 12, Chism 2 1-3 5, Hawn 2 2-2 6, Syverson 2 0-0 4.  Totals 19 5-9 46.

GREYBULL — Gonzalez 0 2-2 2, Frazier 5 0-0 11, Clutter 6 2-3 14, Sylvester 6 4-6 17, Getzfreid 4 5-6 13, Jensen 0 2-4 2, Goton 5 4-6 14, Shoemaker 0 0-2 0.  Totals 26 19-29 73.

3-POINT GOALS — Stromsvag 2, Thomas;  Frazier, Sylvester.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 42 (Goton 11).  STEALS — Greybull 17 (Sylvester 6).  ASSISTS — Greybull 18 (Clutter 7).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 16.