Cougars begin state against Upton

Feb 28, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Wind River was runner-up at the Class 2-A West regional tournament.

Wind River won 20 straight games between an early loss to defending state champion Pine Bluffs and a 74-66 loss to Wyoming Indian in last Saturday's West 2-A championship.

The Cougars will try to regroup in a noon contest with the Upton Bobcats at Casper College.

Upton enters the game averaging 58 points per game and giving up 43. The Bobcats finished third in the east regional and are paced by three players averaging double figures.

Payton Watt, a 6-foot-1 senior, leads the team at 18 points per game, while sophomore Dillon Barritt contributes 12, forward Hunter Woodward, at 6-foot-2, averages 11 per game.

The Bobcats moved up from Class 1-A a season ago where they lost to Burlington, 58-49, in the state championship game.

Upton passes the ball well, with Dawson Butts leading the team in assists at 3.58 per game. Watt and Barritt average 3.42 and 2.25 per game.

The Bobcats aren't a huge team, but have good quickness and pressure the ball well in the half court.

Wind River is a hard team to pin down as far as team attributes.They have size, speed, shooting ability and impressive quickness.

Head coach Justin Walker can go big, quick or most of the time, hits the floor with a combination of those assets.

The Cougars are led in the post by 6-foot-4 senior Taylor Tidzump, who has emerged as a force unstoppable on the floor, but prone to foul trouble. 6-foot-4 junior Jayin Trumbull can play anywhere and is difficult for any player to match up with.The younger Trumbull brother, Jarrick, is the most aggressive of the Cougars and drives to the basket with abandon. At 6-feet, he is one of the strongest guards in the state.

Sophomore long-range specialist Daylon Shoyo can break your heart with 3-pointers and if left alone, can shoot repeatedly from the same mark.Senior point guard Xavior Oats can drive and shoot the three, but his specialty is leading the offense and playing stellar defense on the best guards in the state.

Juniors Ben Hoopengarner and Dalton Finley come off the bench and can make immediate impacts in the game.

A win by the Cougars most likely sets them in a rematch of last year's championship game against Pine Bluffs at 7:30 p.m. at the Casper Events Center, but the Hornets have to get by a young, but very talented Rocky Mountain team first.

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