by nathan oster
Greybull’s boys and girls basketball teams will return to action this weekend at a tournament in Big Piney, which was added to the schedule after plans to host the Big Horn Basin Shootout in early December fell through.
While it’s primarily a 1A tournament, there is at least one other 2A team in the field that both the Greybull boys and girls want to see. That would be Big Piney, a team they often run into at the Class 2A West Regional.
For the boys, that matchup is not a guarantee.
The Buffs open with Snake River in a 12:30 p.m. game Friday, Jan. 2 in the BPHS Gym.
Coach Jim Prather said this of the Rattlers: “They have a storied tradition with lots of success in recent years in 1A. Got a chance to see them a couple of times in the Rocky/Burlington tournament prior to the holidays. They have a couple of post players that are solid scorers and a quick primary ball handler. They were patient on offense and worked to get the shot they wanted. We will throw our 1-3-1 zone at them and see how they respond.”
Big Piney looms as a second-round opponent — but for that to happen the two teams would each have to either win or lose their opening-round matchup. The Punchers face Arvada-Clearmont. If they both win, the 8:10 p.m. game would be in the BPHS Gym; if they both lose, it would be in the BPMS Gym.
Prather said he’s hopeful of an encounter.
“The Punchers are a well coached bunch; they are physical on defense and feature a couple of lights-out shooters in Jordan Banks and J.D. Fear. They also have a nice post player that can finish around the rim.”
The Buffs are also scheduled to have a game on Saturday, although the opponent is not known. The JV will also be in action, with games against Little Snake River, Cokeville and Big Piney.
“For us this weekend is about trying to get back into basketball form,” said Prather. “We were just starting to round into shape and then took nine days off for the holidays. From a conditioning standpoint, this is like starting over again with practice number one.
“We will rotate lots of players for lots of minutes and try to find some combinations that are working well together. We are emphasizing rebounding and defensive positioning in practice this week, so we would like to see improvements in these areas during the three games of the tournament. Offensively, we will continue to refine what we have put in so far and add a couple of sets that we like to use during league play. This tournament will give us a chance to work on these against varsity competition. If we can come through the tournament healthy we will have a great idea of what we need to improve in to get ready for league play.”
It’ll be an even busier week for the Greybull Lady Buffs as they look to get on track after a slow start to the season in December.
“We want to get a win and get one quickly,” said Coach Jeff Hunt, who led his girls through two practices last week and is planning four more this week in preparation for a four-game slate in Big Piney.
The girls varsity plays twice on Friday, with matchups against Little Snake River at 2:10 p.m. in the BPMS Gym and against Bear Lake at 6:30 p.m. in the Rec Gym. Saturday will bring games against Farson at 8:10 a.m. in the ES Gym and against Cokeville at 9:50 a.m. in the BPHS Gym.
The JV girls are scheduled to play Little Snake River, Big Piney, Arvada-Clearmont and Bear Lake.
All of the Lady Buffs opponents are 1A teams, but that doesn’t change the mission.
“We just need to keep getting better at the things we’ve been working on and growing as a team,” said Hunt, who hinted that his team may try to push the tempo a bit more than it did in December.
Greybull-Riverside has the weekend off, but the grapplers won’t have to wait long for their 2015 debut. First up is the Big Horn County Dual Championships on Thursday, Jan. 8, starting at 5 p.m. This year it’s Greybull’s turn to host.
That will be followed on Tuesday, Jan. 13 by a dual in Powell, a 3A powerhouse.