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Lander boys carry strong start into meat of the season

Jan 6, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The Tigers host conference foes Star Valley and Jackson this weekend.

Rebounding the basketball and playing an up-tempo style are two strengths for the Lander Valley High School Tigers after the first eight games of the boys season.

The Tigers are the fourth-best rebounding team in the state, pulling in 31.1 rebounds per game.

Lander is the No. 5 defensive team in the state, allowing 49.9 points per game.

The Tigers are enjoying a 7-1 record after the first month of the season.

"We have played some pretty talented teams," Lander coach Terry Hopkin said. "I don't think that we have played our best basketball yet. Up to this point, we will take a 7-1 record."

Cody also has a 7-1 mark.

"There are a lot of teams that are pretty equal," Hopkin said. "We have been on the top end of scores. Those people that stay healthy and with a little bit of luck are going to end up at state."

Douglas is 5-2 after beating Lander in overtime in the final game before the teams went on Christmas break.

"We have focused on the small things and trying to get everything down so that we are able to run our plays that need to be run," Hopkin said. "We want to do them perfectly, and that's what we have been concentrating on."

Top weapons

The Tigers are the No. 2 scoring team in Class 3-A at 62.6 points per game. Rawlins is No. 1 in the state at 64.4. Cody sits third at 61.5.

"I have liked how we are getting the ball down the floor," Hopkin said. "We are getting it out quicker than we have in the past and being able to get some easy layups."

Lander's Cooxooeii black is No. 1 in the Class 3-A West conference in the rebounding department with an average of 8.8 per game.

Teammate Jaxon Hedges is right behind at 7.9 followed by Casey Winger (7.0).

"We have three to four guys that are really hitting the boards hard," Hopkin said. "When you have that kind of talent and that kind of strength and size, it really helps your running game."

Black has an 18.3 points per game average. Winger is sitting at 14.9.

Big weekend

The Tigers are preparing to host Star Valley this Friday and Jackson on Saturday in two Class 3-A showdowns at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.

The tipoff with Star Valley is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"The on-the-ball defense is our No. 1 priority coming out of the break," Hopkin said. "We need to make sure that we shut down their guards and execute."

Star Valley is 1-1 in conference play and 3-4 overall. Star Valley won the state title last year in Class 3-A basketball.

Lander is 1-0 in the league after beating Lyman in a road contest.

"I think that everybody plays better at home," Hopkin said. "We want make darn sure that we protect our house and come away with some wins."

Jackson is winless in conference play at 0-2 and 4-4 overall.

Class 3-A boys basketball standings, with league mark first

West

Cody 2-0, 7-1

Lander 1-0, 7-1

Mountain View 1-0, 6-2

Powell 1-1, 5-3

Star Valley 1-1, 3-4

Lyman 1-1, 2-6

Jackson 0-2, 4-4

Pinedale 0-2, 0-8

East

Buffalo 1-0, 5-4

Rawlins 0-0, 5-2

Glenrock 0-0, 5-2

Douglas 0-0, 5-2

Wheatland 0-0, 4-3

Newcastle 0-0, 1-5

Torrington 0-0, 0-7

Worland 0-1, 2-5

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