by nathan oster
With a little better free-throw shooting, Greybull Middle School’s top eighth-grade team might have gone undefeated last week. Instead, it had to settle for a still very solid 2-1, posting wins over Lovell and Rocky Mountain after a narrow one-point loss to Cody earlier in the week.
Coach Jared Collingwood was out of town for the Nov. 5 game against Cody, and his team played well in his absence. Jim Prather, the high school coach, manned the bench for GMS and nearly led his troops to the win.
Free-throw shooting was the difference in the one-point, 27-26 loss. Greybull was 1 of 13 from the stripe. It was the team’s first loss of the season.
Miguel Gomez led with 10, followed by Braeden Tracy with six, Max Mills and Riley Hill with four apiece and Brayan Castro with two.
Greybull won the B game 21-12, getting eight from Mason Werbelow, four from Eduardo Burgos and Morgan Dowling, three from Jovani Garay and two from Brayan Castro.
GMS bounced back well on Saturday, beating Lovell 38-29 and Rocky Mountain 29-22.
Collingwood, back on the bench, said his team didn’t play particularly well against a Lovell team it should have dominated. “We did not execute offensively and allowed a lot of easy baskets that they should have contested and done a better job against,” he said. “We did not box out, either, and gave up multiple second-shot opportunities.”
Tracy paced GMS with 12, followed by Mills and Gomez with nine apiece, Castro with three, Hill two and Korbin Adams one.
The team played better against Rocky Mountain — “but still far from our potential,” said Collingwood. The coach didn’t like his team’s mental lapses and inconsistent play, but said he saw some good things, as well. The young Buffs handled the half-court trap, running their press breaker very well, and they adjusted well to the Rocky Mountain zone, which gave them fits in the first 1 1/2 quarters.
Hill led GMS with eight, followed by Tracy with seven, Gomez four, Adams and Mills three apiece and Werbelow and Burgos two apiece.
“We must have missed 10-plus layups during each game, so we plan on spending a lot of time (this week in practice) working on layups, bunnies and shots around the basket … finish with contact!”
The younger GMS teams won two of three, defeating Cody 34-23 and Lovell 36-20 before losing a 41-40 overtime heartbreaker to Rocky Mountain.
Coach Ken Jensen said of the Cody game, “We played very well in this game and showed improvement in several areas that we have been concentrating on.”
The team followed that up with “a pretty solid game” against Lovell, beating the Bulldog for the second time this season. Jensen said the team got good contributions from two players in particular: Abe Mendez and Gage Hunt.
Jensen called Rocky Mountain “the best seventh-grade team we’ve seen so far,” but quickly noted that it was a difficult game to lose. “I tell the kids, ‘I don’t mind getting beat, but I hate to lose,’ and this was one of those games,” he said. “We played hard, but not well. We had way too many turnovers and shot a miserable percentage on layups.”
In spite of all that, Rocky Mountain still needed a “desperation three at the buzzer” to send the game into overtime. “We gave the game away,” he said. “But it was a good experience to be in a close game for a change, and learn that every missed shot, or missed rebound, or turnover, or loss of man — no matter if it’s in the first or last quarter — could end up costing us the game, and that’s exactly what happened. Hopefully we’ll react better next time.”
GMS hosts a quadrangular with Ten Sleep and Meeteetse on Saturday.