by nathan oster
All three Greybull Middle School boys basketball teams checked into the win column during the opening weekend of their season.
The sixth graders defeated Powell B 28-15 on Thursday before falling at Cody B 27-22 on Saturday. The seventh graders had a similar showing, beating Powell 32-24 but losing to Cody 30-16.
“We have 11 kids out this year (for sixth grade), and with only seven practices before the first game, we are just working on basic skills so far,” said Ken Jensen, who coaches the sixth and seventh graders. “Most of the kids have little or no experience starting the season. We are concentrating on defensive skills. We believe it takes at least two seasons to learn how to play man-to-man defense properly, so the first year we present lots of information, rules and concepts.
“Hopefully by seventh grade they remember what we teach them and react correctly, and by the eighth grade they can play on instinct instead of having to think about everything.”
The eighth graders, who are coached by Jared Collingwood, beat Powell 32-11 and Cody 29-22.
Powell is down this year, but Collingwood said he was still impressed with the way the kids “came out strong, got some early fast break points and took control of the game early.
“It was good for us, because it allowed us to slow it down and work on our halfcourt offense and defense. Our goal was to keep them below 10 coming out of halftime, but we fell short of that, but our fourth quarter was probably our best as far as basketball goes. We improved on running some of the things we wanted to and getting the looks we needed.”
Clancy Stoffers netted 12 points, Dustin Fox 10, Dante Sylvester six and Cade Dooley four for GMS.
In Cody, the eighth graders faced a team that beat them twice last season, including at the season-ending conference tournament.
“We knew it was going to be a game that we needed to play better and do some things we didn’t against Powell,” said Collingwood. “Our defense and rebounding was key. We pressured the ball and forced them out of some of the things they wanted to do.
“It was a great team effort defensively, but Dante Sylvester’s ball pressure truly set the tone for us; it was the foundation for what we did and all the kids stepped in and fed off that leadership he showed. On offense we were able to push the ball when needed and available due to the good defense and rebounding.”
Clancy Stoffers, Cade Dooley and Dawson Forcella “dominated the boards for us and Forcella really helped us control the tempo allowing him to work with Sylvester and Dustin Fox taking care of the ball offensively,” Collingwood continued. “We also got real good time out of our subs Mason Stebner, Hayden Howe and Jacob Harrold all came in off the bench and played tough defense, didn’t score offensively, but helped us run the offense and get into the things we want to do. Dustin Fox played excellent shooting the ball and attacking off the dribble and pressing the defense.”
Fox paced GMS with 10, followed by Sylvester with seven, Forcella six, Stoffers four and Dooley two.
GMS teams hosted Lovell on Tuesday and will tangle with Thermopolis today (Thursday, Nov. 1). The eighth graders will play in Greybull, the sixth and seventh graders in Thermopolis. Game time at both locations is 4:15 p.m.
Collingwood said he’d be taking some eighth graders, freshmen and sophomores to Bozeman, Mont., for a tournament weekend. “It should be a good test and challenge for them to play with older kids and bigger schools,” he said.