Buffs go 4-0 in Big Horn Basin Shootout

by nathan oster

It was an encouraging opening weekend for the Greybull Buffs. Playing for the first time since losing all five starters from last year’s team, the Buffs went a perfect 4-0 in the Big Horn Basin Shootout, beating Big Piney 30-26, Kemmerer 55-49, Shoshoni 43-35 and Wind River 49-47.

Every bit as important, the Buffs gained confidence as well, with the knowledge that all four of their victims last weekend play in the Southwest Conference and are teams they might need to beat down the road at the Class 2A West Regional in Riverton.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team’s effort this weekend,” said Coach Jim Prather.

It was only one weekend, but the Buffs showed one very encouraging trait. In all four games, they outplayed their opponents in the fourth quarter. It happened first in the Big Piney game on Thursday night.  The Buffs trailed most of the game, including 24-18 early in the fourth, before closing the show with a 12-2 run.

“Six of the guys who were played were making their varsity debuts, so it was a complete learning experience from how to prepare in the locker room prior to the game, to how we warm up to proper bench décorum,” said Prather. “It’s a lot of information to process at one time, but I was proud of how all 11 players kept their focus throughout the game.”

Payton Gonzalez fueled the fourth-quarter rally, scoring seven of his team-high 16 points.  Paul Stewart also had a couple of key buckets in the paint in the fourth for the Buffs.

The Buffs built on the momentum Friday afternoon with a six-point win over Kemmerer.

Greybull shot 47 percent from the field and led at every quarter break en route to the win.

“Our focus was on trying to speed up the tempo in this game,” said Prather. “We varied our defenses between man and zone and also worked on our full-court press.  We were able to keep the Rangers off balance enough during the game to cause problems when they were shooting the ball.”

Gonzalez turned in another quality effort, finishing with 20 points after shooting a blistering 71 percent from the floor.  He was also 7 of 11 from the line, including 3 of 4 to salt away the win in the fourth.

“Again, we played 11 in the first half and I felt our depth kept us fresh and we were able to capitalize when Kemmerer began to tire.”

The Buffs again “kept their poise” in their eight-point win Friday night over Shoshoni.

“Even though we trailed most of the contest, the guys stayed focused,” said Prather. “When things started to fall into place for us in the fourth quarter, we were able to get some stops and score on our end to take the lead.

“The players executed well again down the stretch to get a win.  I felt the team tried to run our offense better in this game, the result being a lot of good shots in the paint.”

The weekend ended with yet another come-from-behind victory.

At one point in the second half, the Buffs trailed by 10 points and were just 3 of 22 from the charity stripe.

“Free throws were the story of this game,” said Prather. “Through three quarters, the Cougars were making them and we weren’t.”

The tide turned in the fourth quarter however.  The Buffs eventually tied the game at 44 and won it 49-44, on the strength of a pair of Treston Tracy free throws, another clutch bucket by Gonzalez and a free throw from Ryan Sylvester with 19 seconds to go.

“We can avoid having to battle back in the fourth quarter if we step up to the line and knock down those free throws more consistently,” said Prather. “We wanted to play more aggressively in this game and I thought all 13 guys who played for us played hard.”

Overall, Prather said he was ecstatic about his team’s opening weekend.

“We saw a little of everything from our opponents, and that will help us as we prepare for the conference schedule,” he said. “Roles are starting to define themselves more clearly as 13 different  players saw varsity action.

“Although inexperienced and young, our mental toughness and poise were the strongest parts of our game. That will give us confidence that we can compete as we move forward with the season. Like everyone else in the state, we have a lot to work on in practice, but going to practice 4-0 makes that hard work seem worthwhile.”

 

This week

The Buffs will hit the road this weekend for the Herder Classic in Glenrock. The schedule calls for the Buffs to play Kaycee at 3:30 p.m. and Glenrock at 8 p.m. on Friday and to square off with Lusk at 1 p.m. and Wright at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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“Lusk and Glenrock will be really strong teams with size and experience; they will be the top teams we have seen to date,” said Prather. “Kaycee always scraps and gives us great games.  The matchup with Wright has been hard fought and competitive through the years.

“I would expect tight games, much like we saw in our tournament.”

 

Big Piney 13 3 7 3 — 26

Greybull 5 5 8 12 — 30

BIG PINEY — Howard 0 2-3 2.  Sims 2 6-8 10.  Banks 1 0-0 2.  Jones 1 0-0 2, Jones 5 0-0 10.  Totals 9 8-12 26.

GREYBULL — Payton Gonzalez 2 0-1 4, Calder Forcella 1 0-0 2, Wyatt Good 4 1-3 10, Quinton Haley 1 0-0 2, Ryan Sylvester 1 0-0 3, Paul Stewart 3 1-4 7, Treston Tracy 1 0-0 2, Aidan Jenness 0 0-2 0.  Totals 13-32 2-10 30.

3-POINT GOALS – Good, Sylvester.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 25 (Haley 7).  STEALS — 4 (Good 2).  ASSISTS — 5 (Forcella 2).  TURNOVERS — 18.

 

Kemmerer 14   9 15 13 — 49

Greybull 16 12 15 12 — 55

KEMMERER — Tiller 1 0-0 3, Corbridge 3 3-5 11, Simpson 5 1-4 12, King 2 0-1 4, Kascoli 4 0-1 8, Deeter 3 1-4 7, Sumsion 2 0-0 4.  Totals 20 5-15 49.

GREYBULL — Gonzalez 6 4-7 20, Forcella 1 0-0 2, Good 2 0-1 4, Haley 2 0-0 4, Sylvester 1 1-4 4, Stewart 7 0-2 14, Tracy 3 0-0 7.  Totals 22-47 8-18 55.

3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez, Sylvester, Tracy. REBOUNDS — Greybull 31 (Stewart 6, Haley 5).  STEALS — Greybull 14 (Gonzalez 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 13 (Gonzalez 4).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 28.

 

Shoshoni 9 11   9   6 — 35

Greybull 11  2 13 11 — 43

SHOSHONI — Parish 2 2-2 8, Thoren 6 3-7 15, Pingetzer 1 0-0 2, Mills 0 0-2 0, Johnson 2 4-7 9, Lutz 0 1-4 1.  Totals 3-8 10-22 35.

GREYBULL —   Gonzalez 4 6-11 16, Good 3 0-0 8, Bryce Wright 1 0-0 2, Haley 1 1-2 3, Sylvester 1 2-2 4, Stewart 3 0-0 6, Logan Jensen 1 0-0 2, Tracy 1 0-0 2.  Totals 15-49 9-14 43.

3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez 2, Good 2.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 37 (Haley 10, Good 7, Tracy 7).  STEALS — Greybull 12 (Gonzalez 3).  ASSISTS — Greybull 8 (Gonzalez 3).  TURNOVERS – Greybull 22.

 

Wind River 14 12 12 9 — 47

Greybull 12 12 7 18 — 49

WIND RIVER —  C. Bearing 4 4-6 12, Reinecht 1 3-5 5, Lindstadt 4 1-4 9, Weliever 2 4-4 8, Roanhorse 5 2-4 13, Snyder 0 0-2 0.  Totals 16 14-25 47.

GREYBULL — Gonzalez 5 5-9 17, Forcella 1 0-0 2, Good 2 4-7 8, Wright 0 0-2 0, Haley 2 0-2 4, Sylvester 1 2-3 4, Stewart 3 1-8 7, Fabian Davila 1 0-0 2, Tracy 1 3-4 5.  Totals 16-46 15-35 49.

3-POINT GOALS — Gonzalez 2.  REBOUNDS —  Greybull 42 (Haley 11, Stewart 8).  STEALS — Greybull 12 (Gonzalez 4).  ASSISTS — Greybull 11 (Forcella 3).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 26.