by nathan oster
Greybull Middle School’s eighth-grade team posted three wins last week, as the boys ripped Burlington 44-18, Cloud Peak 40-13 and Ten Sleep 49-22 to build momentum for what may be the toughest part of their schedule.
The eighth graders turned in “the best team effort and play” to date in their 26-point win over Burlington on Nov. 12. “Everyone played hard and it showed on the court,” said Coach Jared Collingwood. “Burlington has a good team, but our pressure defense and fast-break points put us in control early.”
Braeden Tracy, with 14 points, and Miguel Gomez, with 11, “had their best games thus far,” said the couch. “Both played excellent and where we need them to be playing by the end of the year.”
Other scorers for GMS included Max Mills with nine, Riley Hill with four, and Korbin Adams, Brayan Castro and Morgan Dowling, each with two.
GMS already owned a victory over Cloud Peak when the two teams met for a rematch on Friday. The second game followed a similar script as the first. GMS eventually won by 27, getting 10 from Gomez and Adams, nine from Tracy, four from Riley Hill, three from Max Mills and two each from Ralph Petty and Zack Keisel.
The eighth graders shook off a slow start to pull away from Ten Sleep on Saturday morning. Again, it was their pressure defense that set the tone by leading to a lot of fast-break points.
Tracy netted 10, Hill, Mills and Brayan Castro eight apiece, Eduardo Burgos five and Mason Werbelow, Jovani Garay, Gomez, Adams and Morgan Dowling two apiece.
“Ten Sleep had some size, but our kids were quicker and more athletic,” said Collingwood. “Everyone contributed both offensively and defensively. It is always nice to get everyone in the game and see them score or do something they have been working on in practice.
“We are beginning to shoot better from the free-throw line, something we have emphasized in practice. This week with five days of practice we will spend a lot of time shooting free throws and working on executing our half-court sets on offense.”
The eighth graders figure to face stiffer competition on Saturday when they host A and B games against Worland and Thermopolis. First up are A and B games against Thermopolis, starting at 9 and 10 a.m., followed by an A game against Worland at 11 and a B game against Worland at noon.
“Everything will be in the high school gym and it should be a good test for us to see how we handle bigger schools and a little tougher competition,” said Collingwood.
The sixth and seventh graders played Burlington Tuesday and won 38-26.
“It was a tough game; they are as good a seventh-grade team as we’ve seen all year and they played a 2-3 zone against us,” said Coach Ken Jensen. “We haven’t seen a zone all season, and haven’t had time to put in a zone offense, so we just had to attack the basket and use our size advantage.
“The game was close most of the way, and we just kind of wore them down and pulled away at the end.”
Brock Hill led the scoring with 16, followed by Zack Keisel and Ralph Petty with 11 each.
On Friday the team notched a 44-27 win over Cloud Peak in Manderson, again using its size advantage to jump out to a big early lead. Jensen said he was able to mix and match different combinations, giving lots of players quality time on the court.
Brock Hill again led the scoring and Ralph Petty also hit double figures. Branden Welsh, Jordan Preciado, Zack Keisel, and Ethan Dalin also scored in this game.
The team made it a perfect week with a 41-21 win over Ten Sleep. With the win, the team improved to 8-2.
“Once again, we were just too big and physical for our opponent,” he said.
Seven players scored, led by Brock Hill with 17, Zack Keisel with nine, Gage Hunt with six, Jordan Preciado with three, and two apiece from Wyatt Bush, Ethan Dalin, and Ralph Petty.
The sixth graders got in a game of their own last week as well, losing 28-13. Forty turnovers proved “too much to overcome,” said Jensen, whose team was led in scoring by Preciado and Dalin.
The sixth and seventh graders will face off against Worland and Thermopolis Saturday in Worland.