Buffs snap losing skid, beat TR

by nathan oster

Four players scored in double figures, with Braeden Tracy leading the way with 17 points and Brock Hill chipping in 16 points and 15 boards, to lead the Greybull Buffs to their first win of the season, 73-43, over Tongue River in their final game at the Foothills Classic.

The Buffs had lost to Big Horn, 64-44, and Wright, 69-49, in games played Friday in Big Horn.

“The one we won was easily the most important of the three — in fact, if we were doing a tradeoff, I’d take winning the third game (over Tongue River) over wins over the other two opponents (Big Horn and Wright),” said Coach Nolan Tracy.

Rare is the December game that matters in mid-February, when teams are jockeying for regional tournament seeds.  But this one did, Tracy said, noting that if Greybull and Tongue River split their regular season games and finish tied in conference play, his team would win the tiebreaker based on Saturday’s tournament win.

The win came after five straight losses to begin the season.  The Buffs “had good spurts and bad spurts” in their losses to Big Horn and Wright, said Tracy, who reiterated what he said last week about having an inexperienced team dealing with growing pains.

“The lulls we saw (against Big Horn and Wright) are typically the kind you’d see at the JV level,” said. “But to a certain extent, I think all varsity teams struggle trying to figure things out early in the season.”

The losses overshadowed some nice individual performances for the Buffs.

Tracy netted 11 points and secured eight rebounds in the loss to Big Horn.

Bridger Clark “played his best game” in a Greybull varsity uniform against Wright, netting 18 points to go along with four steals and three assists. “He played a heck of a game,” said Tracy. “When he saw a lane, he was driving to the basket or cutting and catching passes.”

After Tracy’s 17 and Hill’s 16-point, 15-rebound performance, Greybull also got 10 apiece from Zack Keisel and Elian Davila.  Isaac Thueson was right behind with nine.

“We were better defensively and better in transition defense,” he said of the 30-point win.  “We still struggled quite a bit rebounding the ball — we gave up too many offensive rebounds and that will continue to be a focus for us.

“We aren’t shooting the ball well from outside, either.  Against Wright, we were at 32 percent and against Big Horn, we got to 42 percent.  We’re struggling from the free-throw line, too — 37 percent against Big Horn, 36 percent against Wright.”

The Buffs shot for a higher percentage from the line, 53, but it was the volume that made the difference against Tongue River.  The Buffs made 23 of 43 from the stripe;  Tongue River finished 9 of 23.

“We stuck to our game plan, which was to drive the ball to the basket — and not launch a bunch of shots from the outside,” said Tracy. “We only shot four threes and those came in the fourth quarter.

“We’d seen film and thought it looked like we’d have opportunities if we drove on them and forced them to guard us.  The hope was that we could get to the rim or draw fouls — as it turned out, we did both.”

Tracy said he hopes the win is a turning point for his team.

“We’ll see,” he said. “You can tell kids they aren’t great outside shooters or a great three-point shooting team, but until they don’t do it and see the positive results (of taking the ball strong to the basket), sometimes it’s hard to get buy-in.  Hopefully they realize now that we’re pretty good when we do that.”

The Buffs will take a 1-5 record into their final game before the break, a 7 p.m. game Friday night in Burlington.  Although they’ve lost a couple games early, the Huskies have won four straight 1A state championships and return a solid nucleus, headed by all-stater Dontae Garza.

 

Greybull9 11 13 11 — 44

Big Horn14 25 9 16 — 64

GREYBULL — Bridger Clark 2 1-4 5, Zack Keisel 2 1-3 5, Isaac Thueson 1 0-2 2, Dale McBride 1 0-0 2, Brock Hill 1 3-6 5, Elian Davila 1 2-3 4, Ben Kraft 4 0-0 10, 4 2-4 11, Gage Hunt 0 0-2 0.  Totals 16 9-of-24 44.

BIG HORN — Bates 1 2-2 4, Nance 0 0-3 0, Bradshaw 1 0-2 3, Pellisier 1 2-2 4, Eisele 4 2-4 12, VanDyken 4 0-1 9, McCafferty 6 0-0 13, Parker 2 3-6 7, Johnson 1 0-0 3, VanDyken 3 2-2 9.  Totals 23 13-of-23 64.

3-POINT GOALS — Kraft 2, Tracy; VanDyken, McCafferty, Johnson.  REBOUNDS — 27 (Tracy 8).  STEALS — Greybull 7.  ASSISTS — Greybull 6.  TURNOVERS — Greybull 22.

 

Greybull  3 11 15 20 — 49

Wright15 15 19 20 — 69

GREYBULL — Clark 6 6-10 18, Keisel 4 0-0 9, McBride 0 0-2 0, Hill 4 1-1 9, Kraft 1 0-2 2, Tracy 4 1-4 9, Hunt 1 0-3 2.  Totals 20 8-of-22 49.

WRIGHT — Kreiter 4 0-0 8, Leithead 2 3-7 7, Lewis 2 1-4 5, Anderson 0 0-2 0, Vasquez 6 0-1 12, Thompson 8 4-7 20, Robb 7 3-5 17.  Totals 29 11-26 69.

3-POINT GOALS — Keisel.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 37 (Tracy 8, Hill 7).  STEALS — Greybull 5 (Clark 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 10 (Hunt 3).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 16.

 

Greybull18 18 15 22 — 73

Tongue R.19 11   4   9 — 43

GREYBULL — Clark 0 0-5 5, Keisel 5 0-0 10, Thueson 2 5-8 9, Hill 7 2-5 16, Davila 3 4-7 10, Kraft 1 0-2 2, Tracy 5 7-10 17, Hunt 2 0-1 4.  Totals 25 23-of-43 73.

TONGUE RIVER — James 2 1-2 6, Braden 1 0-0 3, Nick 2 2-2 6, Eli 0 1-2 1, Jackson 2 4-8 8, Justice 0 0-3 3, Cade 4 0-0 11, Kade 1 0-0 3, Daien 2 1-4 5.  Totals 14 9-of-21 43.

3-POINT GOALS — Cade 3, Kade 1.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 53 (Hill 15).  STEALS — Greybull 11 (Davila 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 14 (Davila, Hunt 4).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 17.