Buffs unbeaten in Shootout competition

by nathan oster

With three wins in three starts, the Greybull Buffs got just what they wanted out of the season-opening Big Horn Basin Shootout.

“To say that we were happy would be kind of an understatement,” said Coach Jim Prather, still basking in the glow of his team’s 61-45 win over Big Piney, 58-38 triumph over Kemmerer and 59-45 victory over Wind River.  “Over the course of the weekend, we were shown some things that we knew we could do well but had to prove, like outside shooting. We were pretty consistent in that area throughout the weekend.

“But we were also shown some things that we knew we probably need to work on, thing like stamina and physical conditioning.  But that’s what early season tournaments are for.  To play three and come away with three wins was certainly a good start.”

That they got off to a hot start shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the team returned the nucleus of last year’s 9-18 team and welcomed back Kason Clutter, who as a sophomore was a starter on the 2011-12 team which made it to the state tournament.

The chemistry the group developed in summer league and on their annual team trip to the West Coast when they played a combined 25 games in 30 days was apparent on the Buff Gym floor last weekend.

The Big Piney game was quite a contrast to last year’s game, which the Buffs won 30-26.  This  year “it was a much more up and down game,” and as a result, each team had 18 points on the board by the end of the first quarter.

“As the game wore on, we got adjusted to the kind of offensive sets Big Piney was going to run,” said Prather. “Offensively, I thought we were pretty consistent throughout.  Scoring 61 points and shooting as well as we did, especially from three-point range, gave us a glimpse of where we think this team can go this season.”

The Buffs came out firing against Kemmerer, scoring the first 16 points of the game en route to a 20-point win. “That set the tone for the whole game,” said Prather.  While the Buffs suffered “a little letdown late in the first quarter and into the second,” it was a good learning experience in terms of playing with the lead.

“The kids played really well,” said Prather.

Every varsity player scored and three finished in double digits, with Treston Tracy netting 18, Klutter chipping in 13 and Payton Gonzalez netting 10.

The final game of the weekend — and perhaps in Shootout history — pitted the Buffs against Wind River.  Early on, it was all Cougars.  In fact, by late in the first quarter, the visitors held a 20-7 edge on the scoreboard.

“Believe it or not, it went about the way we talked about in the locker room before the game,” said Prather. “Not that we wanted to put ourselves in that deficit, but in years past that Saturday afternoon game against Wind River has been a tough one for us.  The last few years, it’s been ugly basketball.  Saturday was no exception.”

The Buffs came out flat, and it took them until the end of the first quarter to find themselves.  The trio of Bryce Wright, Ryan Sylvester and Logan Jensen were credited for righting the ship, as they came off the bench to provide energy and make some big defensive stops.

From that 20-7 deficit, the Buffs ran off 17 unanswered points to take a four-point lead, 24-20, before Wind River snapped its scoring drought.

By game’s end, Tracy had turned in one of the best games of his scoring career, finishing with 29 points.  On many of his field goals, Clutter assisted.  The senior point guard showed off his passing skills throughout the weekend, as he often would penetrate the lane, draw defenders to him and then find the open man for an easy basket.  Many times, the recipient was Tracy.

“He has a special talent in that regard,” Prather said of Clutter.

Overall, it was an encouraging start for the Buffs.  Prather believes they are further ahead at this time of the season than they were a year ago, and the coach said he liked what he saw from the squad.

“We played everybody in every game,” he said. “We believe we’ve got 10 players who can play.”


This week

The Buffs will learn a lot more about themselves during a five-day stretch beginning Friday.

First up are four tough games at the Coal Miner’s Classic in Wright.  Last year, the Buffs failed to win a single game on this trip, going 0-4. The competition will be “a better caliber of teams,” said Prather.

The Buffs open against the No. 2 team in the state, Lusk, at noon on Friday then square off with a “a much improved” Glenrock squad at 4:30 p.m.  Saturday they face a talented Big Horn team “which played a close game last weekend with Lusk” at 9:30 a.m. before capping the tournament with a 3:30 p.m. game against Wright.  The Panthers, of course, are coached by Pat Neely, who in 1996 led the Buffs to their first state championship.

The Buffs will then close out the season with a showdown against 1A power Burlington on Tuesday in Burlington.  Like the Buffs, the Huskies sport a perfect 3-0 mark after the Shootout.


Big Piney 18   8 14 5 — 45

Greybull 18 19 15 9 — 61

BIG PINEY — Salmeron 2 0-1 4, Fear 3 2-2 11, Salmeron 1 0-0 2, Pape 0 0-4 0, Stoutenberg 3 0-0 6, Jones 3 3-7 9, Shafer 5 2-2 13.  Totals 17 7-16 45.

GREYBULL — Payton Gonzalez 5 3-8 15, Calder Forcella 3 0-0 8, Kason Clutter 3 2-2 9, Ryan Sylvester 2 2-2 7, Paul Stewart 4 0-0 8, Zack Zeller 2 1-2 7, Treston Tracy 3 1-2 7.  Totals 22 9-16 61.

3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez 2, Forcella 2, Zeller 2, Clutter, Sylvester.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 28 (Tracy 8).   STEALS — Greybull 12 (Forcella, Sylvester 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 19 (Clutter 7).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 19.


Kemmerer   4 15   7 12 — 38

Greybull 16 14 17 11 — 58

KEMMERER — Corbridge 6 1-2 15, Deeter 2 7-12 11, Daughetee 0 0-1 0, McCloud 2 2-4 6, Chaulk 1 0-0 2, Hazle 2 0-0 4.  Totals 13 10-20 38.

GREYBULL — Gonzalez 4 2-2 10, Colten Flitner 0 1-2 1, Forcella 1 0-0 2, Clutter 5 2-2 13, Sylvester 0 1-2 1, Stewart 1 1-1 3, Zeller 1 4-6 6, Bryce Wright 1 0-0 2, Logan Jensen 1 0-0 2, Treston Tracy 8 1-2 18.

3-POINT GOALS — Clutter, Tracy.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 30 (Clutter 7).  STEALS — Greybull 19 (Gonzalez 5).  ASSISTS — Greybull 14  (Clutter 8).  TURNOVERS – Greybull 23.


Wind River 20   5   8 12 — 45

Greybull 11 15 16 17 — 59

WIND RIVER — C’Bearing 6 1-2 15, Roanhorse 2 1-2 6, Reinick 3 0-0 6, Hankins 2 1-2 5, Roanhorse 5 3-4 13.  Totals 18 6-10 45.

GREYBULL —  Gonzalez 2 2-2 7, Clutter 6 2-4 15, Stewart 2 2-4 6, Jensen 1 0-0 2, Tracy 13 2-4 29.

3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez, Clutter, Tracy.