Cougars win OT thriller, advance to Class 2-A final

Mar 5, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Wind River ended defending champion Pine Bluffs's 50-game winning streak with a 69-66 victory Friday night.

Destiny, gut check, pride -- select whatever motivation you choose. No matter the reason, the Wind River Cougars scored one of the greatest victories in Class 2-A state tournament history in a stunning come-from-behind overtime win over previously unbeaten Pine Bluffs 69-66, in front of a raucous crowd Friday night at the Casper Events Center.

The Hornets entered the game with an obvious swagger behind a 50-game win streak that tied Wyoming Indian's legendary mark set in the early 1980s.

The Hornets had been challenged only five times this season, with three of those games coming against Fremont County opponents in Wyoming Indian, Shoshoni and Wind River back in December.

In the interim, the Hornets routinely knocked down mediocre and poor teams on their inflated win streak.

Meanwhile, the Cougars battled Wyoming Indian, Lovell, Big Piney, Greybull, Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni, Lander, Worland and Powell in a challenging regular-season schedule.

In the end, it was a Wind River team effort against a pair of very talented Pine Bluff players in 6-foot-10 Hunter Thompson and phenomenal guard Haize Fornstrom, who finished with a combined 57 of Pine Bluffs' 66 points.

Teams almost always beat individuals and that was the case on Friday, but it looked far from a Cougar victory in the opening minutes of play.

Thompson hit an opening 3-pointer and a follow shot, with Fornstrom nailing another three and the Hornets led 8-0 three minutes into the game.

Xavior Oats scored on a drive, dipping under Thompson for Wind River's first points, but Pine Bluffs continued to roll and took their largest lead of the game at 14-2, prompting Wind River head coach Justin Walker to call a timeout.

Jayin Trumbull scored on a spin move and Daylon Shoyo hit a 3-pointer as the Cougars offense slowly came to life.

Pine Bluffs held a dominating 18-11 lead after one period.

The second period was the epitome of team play, with Taylor Tidzump hitting a follow shot and free throw, Jarick and Jayin Trumbull driving inside and Oats hitting a 3-point shot from the elbow.Shoyo hit a pair of free throws and Dalton Finley entered the game and immediately scored on a drive around Fornstrom that cut the margin to 24-19.

Sophomore Jackson Clair displayed great quickness driving through the Hornet defense for another layup, but Fornstrom's jump shot ended the half with Pine Bluffs leading, 30-23.

Finley was heroic in the second half, connecting on a three, feeding the ball inside to Tidzump and Trumbull, but Wind River couldn't overcome the seven-point deficit.

Tidzump and Oats each picked up their fourth foul, but Jarick Trumbull and Finley picked up the slack and Ben Hoopengarner pulled down three important rebounds to keep the Cougars in contention.

The game was called tight, with hand checks being whistled on both teams on nearly every possession.

With 4:45 left in regulation, the Cougars made their move on a 6-0 run with both Trumbull's and Tidzump scoring before Oats fouled out.

Thompson hit a pair of long-range jump shots, but Tidzump answered on a spin move and following free throw for the first tie of the game at 55-55.

Fornstrom and Jayin Trumbull exchanged baskets and a phantom travel call on Tidzump gave the Hornets a last-second chance, but Jayin Trumbull swatted the ball out of bounds and fell into press row in the process to send the game to overtime.

Tidzump fouled out, but so did Fornstrom and Wind River is far from a two-man show.

Finley hit a pair of free throws for a tie at 59-59, before Clair hit a baseline three for the lead. Finley drove under Thompson for another basket, but the senior hit a pull up 3-pointer to tie the game a final time at 64-64.

Jayin Trumbull and Finley hit four free throws in a row and the Cougars advanced to their third state title game in three years.

Jayin Trumbull led Wind River with 18 points, Jarick Trumbull had 13, Finley scored 11 and Tidzump poured in 10.

Thompson tallied 30 points and Fornstrom 27 with the remainder of the team combining for only two baskets.

Wind River 7 16 12 22 12 - 69

Pine Bluffs 18 12 12 15 9 - 66

Wind River - Daylon Shoyo (1) 4-4 7, Jayin Trumbull 5 8-9 18, Dalton Finley 2 (1) 4-4 11, Xavior Oats 1 (1) 0-0 5, Jackson Clair 1 (1) 0-0 5, Taylor Tidzump 4 2-4 10, Jarick Trumbull 1 (1) 8-11 13. Totals 14 (5) 26-32 69

Pine Bluffs - Haize Fornstrom 10 (1) 4-8 27, Hunter Thompson 10 (2) 4-5 30, Kyle Steger 1 0-0 2, Andrew Fornstrom 3-4 3, Tucker Norman 1 2-2 4. Totals 22 (3) 13-19 66

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