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The way it was: Fast start -- 1971
Riverton senior Mike Roden (12) soared for a layup in the Wolverines' early-season win against Casper Natrona at the old RHS gym (now the home of the Wolverine wrestling program). Other Wolverines on the court, from left, were Tim Eller (30), Pat Christensen (42) and Joe Stanbury (50), pictured on Dec. 17, 1971. File photo

The way it was: Fast start -- 1971

Dec 16, 2013 - Staff

One of the better basketball teams ever fielded by Riverton High School was off to a fast start 42 years ago this month. Coach Bill Strannigan's Wolverines raced to a 4-0 start before the Christmas break, handling Casper Natrona, Lovell, Casper Kelly Walsh and Worland. The closest anyone came to beating RHS that December was Kelly Walsh, which lost by 11 points.

Averaging 68 points a game in the early-going, Riverton's strength was its guards behind the play with Mike Roden, Tom White and R.B. Hackbarth, but the Wolverines were formidable in the paint as well, with 6-foot-4 Joe Stanbury, 6-2 Pat Christensen and 6-2 Jim Andre giving Riverton a rebounding advantage in every game.

The team had the misfortune of playing at the same time and in the same conference -- the AA West -- as the Rock Springs Tigers, which were building the greatest basketball dynasty of the decade. The Tigers had won 26 straight games heading into the break and were on their way to the state AA championship with a season record of 22-1.

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