Wind River advances to Friday semiFeb 24, 2012 By Randy Tucker Staff Writer
Editor's note: Wyoming Indian High School defeated Lovell 72-64 Friday night and will challenge Wind River, who defeated Kemmerer 60-48 also on Friday to set up an all Fremont County regional title game. With a capacity crowd expected, the championship game time is set for 5:30 p.m. in Wolverine Gym and the Ranger will be there from tip-off until the final basket. Catch all of the game highlights in Sunday's Ranger.
It wasn't the game the Wind River Cougars expected from fourth seed Riverside from the Northwest 2-A. The Rebels evidently didn't get the memo that they were going to be blown by Wind River and instead gave the Cougars everything they wanted in a 61-53 contest in round one of the Class 2-A West regional basketball tournament in Riverton.
The win sends Wind River to a semifinal matchup with Southwest conference foe Kemmerer at 6 p.m. Friday in Wolverine gym.
Riverside stunned the partisan Wind River crowd by taking an early 9-2 lead behind an opening trey from Jordan Herman and a pair of drives by Bryce Johnson.
The Cougars missed nearly every short-range shot in the early going and didn't fare well in the paint at all on the night against the intimidating presence of 6-6 275 pound senior post Brynnt Wood.
Wood dominated the defensive boards, limiting the Cougars to only a single attempt on most possessions. His offensive prowess began to emerge in the second period but really came to fore in the third and fourth, when he tallied 14 of his game high 22-points.
Roger Wagon sank the first of his four treys for the Cougars late in the opening period, and Tyson Lonebear tied the game at 14 before a Wood follow shot gave the Rebels a 16-14 lead at the first break.
There were three ties and four lead changes in the second period before the Cougars picked up a little breathing room on a Jesse Brown 3-pointer, along with a basket by Tyler Rupe that came off a brilliant wrap-around pass from Brown. The Cougars led by five at the intermission.
Four ties highlighted the third period and had the Cougar faithful wondering how Wind River would ever stop Wood in the post. In the end, the Cougars never did, Riverside's guards decide to start shooting the long ball. Wind River regained a five-point lead late in the third behind baskets from Lone Bear and another trey from Wagon.
Riverside had to defeat Thermopolis in a play-in game on Monday just to get to the tournament and they were not impressed by Wind River's lofty ranking.
Getzfreid and Wood scored baskets to give the Rebels repeated one-point leads but each time the Cougars answered with Lone Bear hitting Rupe for one lay up and Wagon hitting a 25 foot 3-pointer with 4:02 left to lift Wind River to a 5-48 advantage.
Wagon hit his final 3-pointer form the top of the key with 2:27 remaining to give the Cougars a 55-51 lead.
The Rebels were never able to close the gap, and Wind River exploited the foul to get the ball strategy down the stretch with Wagon and Brown each converting free throws to hold off any Riverside comeback.
Riverside plays Rocky Mountain at noon in a loser out contest.
WIND RIVER 14 14 17 16 -- 61
RIVERSIDE 16 7 17 13 -- 53
Wind River -- Ward Gordon 2 0-2 4, Joe Tidzump 1 0-0 2, Ryan Weliever 1 0-4 2, Tyson Lonebear 5 (1) 2-3 15, Roger Wagon (4) 2-2 14, Jesse Brown 8 (1) 0-0 19, Tyler Rupe 2 0-0 4, Brodie Miller 1-2 1. Totals 19 (6) 5-13 61
Riverside -- Clint Getzfreid 5 0-0 10, Jordan Herman 1 (2) 0-0 8, Mike Miller 2 1-2 5, Bryce Johnson 4 0-1 8, Brynnt Wood 10 2-4 22. Totals 22 (2) 3-7 53