by nathan oster
No longer is the new Tongue River High School gymnasium a little shop of horrors for the Greybull Buffs, who on Saturday afternoon used their advantage in size and a disciplined effort on defense to earn a rare non-conference win, 68-45, on the home floor of the Eagles.
The Buffs, now 14-2, were a team on a mission — and it showed in their shooting strokes. Greybull connected on 55 percent of its field goal attempts (29-of-53) and on 73 percent of its tries at the charity stripe (8-of-11).
Treston Tracy led all scorers with 21 points. He missed only four shots all afternoon — finishing 9 of 13 from the field and 3 of 3 from the line.
“We had an advantage around the basket with our post players,” said Coach Jim Prather. “We wanted to get the ball inside — and the kids did an outstanding job of that. We only shot four 3s … the reason is because they were so focused on getting the ball to our post players.
“Treston shot well from the field, and so did Paul (Stewart, who sank 3 of 5 attempts and had six points). When those two are shooting a higher percentage, and getting the number of shots we’d like to see, we’re capable of scoring a lot of points.”
Kason Clutter and Calder Forcella were next in line scoring-wise with 14 and nine points. Clutter also chipped in seven assists and four boards in a game the Buffs controlled from start to finish.
Greybull led by four after one and by 10 at the half and the third-quarter break before blowing the game open with a 23-10 scoring edge in the final quarter.
Tongue River has killed previous Buff teams from behind the three-point arc, but hit only three from long range on Saturday.
“Going in, we were concerned about their primary players,” said Prather. “We wanted to do a good job on them; we wanted to identify where those kids were on the floor and to take them out of the game.”
Matt Yellowtail, the Eagles’ top scorer, didn’t play.
“That helped us a little, in the sense that we had one less guy to be concerned about,” said Prather. “But their other player that we really wanted to make sure we could find at all times, Wyatt Main … until he hit a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, he hadn’t scored at all.
“So that part of the game plan, the kids executed really well.”
“It’s been a tough place for us to play,” said Prather. “I was proud of the focus of the team and the way the kids executed at a high level on the offensive end. If we can do that on the road, we’re always going to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Three games in three days. That’s the challenge lying in front of the Buffs this week, as they host Riverside today and follow that up with road games at Lovell on Friday and at Wyoming Indian on Saturday.
The first two will be conference matchups, as the Buffs look to complete the season sweep of their two county rivals. Greybull beat Riverside 54-43 in Basin and clipped Lovell 51-42 in January.
“Sounds like a regional tournament … three games in three days … but that’s one of the reasons we schedule it that way,” said Prather. “We want to simulate that kind of experience, and these, like those tournament games, are going to be tough games, starting with our arch rival game the first night out.”
Prather said “you can throw the records out the window” for the Riverside game, that Lovell is “always tough on their home floor,” and that Wyoming Indian is deserving of its ranking as the No. 1 team in Class 2A.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to test ourselves,” Prather said of the tripleheader.
The matchup in Ethete will be a clash of ranked teams, as Greybull is also in the top five.
What do the Buffs need to do to win?
“Most teams that play them have a game plan going in; you have to take care of the ball, first and foremost,” he said. “As coaches, you devise practice plans that you hope will expose kids to the kind of pressure they’re going to face when the Chiefs are guarding you. You might put seven or eight guys out there. We’ll try that this week (in practice).
“When we’ve had success agains them in the past, we’ve limited our turnovers and forced them to guard for extended periods of time in their halfcourt defense. A lot of times, that’s easier said that done. But if you can work the clock and get the shots you like … who knows, the longer you stay the game, the tighter they might get. We think we can go down there and play with them.”
Greybull 14 19 12 23 — 68
Tongue R. 10 13 12 10 — 45
GREYBULL — Payton Gonzalez 3 0-2 7, Fabian Davila 0 2-2 2, Calder Forcella 4 0-0 9, Kason Clutter 6 2-2 14, Keegan Jenness 0 1-2 1, Ryan Sylvester 2 0-0 4, Paul Stewart 3 0-0 6, Bryce Wright 1 0-0 2, Logan Jensen 1 0-0 2, Treston Tracy 9 3-3 21. Totals 29 8-11 68.
TONGUE RIVER — Main 1 0-0 3, Linhart 3 0-0 6, Jefferson 1 0-0 3, Scammon 6 1-4 14, Dockery 5 2-5 12, Shumacher 1 0-0 2, Lyons 0 0-2 0, Dickerson 1 0-0 2, Buller 1 1-2 3. Totals 19 4-13 45.
3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez, Forcella; Main, Jefferson, Scammon. REBOUNDS — Greybull 26 (Tracy 6). STEALS — Greybull 13 (Forcella 3). ASSISTS — Greybull 17 (Clutter 7). TURNOVERS — Greybull 18