Chiefs open Class 2-A state against Wright

Mar 1, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Wyoming Indian's boys face the Panthers in the opener in Casper.

Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym at Casper College will be packed to standing room only as Wyoming Indian takes the floor against the Wright Panthers in the final game of the opening round of the Class 2-A boys basketball tournament at 9 p.m Thursday.

The Chiefs enter the game as the top seed out of Class 2-A West after a thrilling 74-66 win over rival Wind River in the regional title game.

The Chiefs struggled through the season, but the arrival of Derrick Green via a hardship transfer rule three weeks ago has changed the look of the squad.

Along with Green's 6-foot-3 presence, Latrell Ferris has emerged in the second half of the season as a solid force in the post and from mid-range.

Ryan Tiger has found his outside shot. The 6-foot-3 senior is difficult to defend on the perimeter. Add the shooting of Lane Hill, and the Chiefs are a formidable offensive team.

The Chiefs have an abundance of talent for head coach Craig Ferris to choose from in Natuin Trosper, Bradford Brown, Jerry McGill, Mike Underwood and Jeff Lock, all of whom have tallied double-figure scoring in one or more games this season.

All this comes before including the offensive talent of senior guard Buell Robinson, the leading scorer in the state. He tallied 45 points in one game this season, but in perhaps a more telling statistic of the Chiefs' strength he scored just three points at Big Piney -- and the Chiefs still won the game.

Wyoming Indian played Wright to a 59-56 win earlier in the season at the Big Horn Basin Shootout, but the Chiefs are a different team now.

Wright averages 62 points per game and yields 54.Wright is paced by 6-foot-2 junior Shayne Belt who averages 16 points per game, 6-foot-1 junior Kieran Jurgens, who tallies nine, and 6-foot-4 senior Dallas Millin, averaging eight.

The Panthers are a classic team with guards at 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1, a pair of 6-foot-2 forwards, and the 6-foot-4 Millin in the post.

Wright is coached by the venerable Pat Neely, who won championships earlier in his career at Greybull and, 12 years ago, with the same Wright Panthers.

A win by the Chiefs most likely sets up a third meeting with their longtime rivals, the Lovell Bulldogs, in another 9 p.m. game, this one Friday at the Casper Events Center.

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