Jan 10, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterPAVILLION --The Wind River girls made it nine wins in a row with an easy Southwest Conference victory over rival Shoshoni on Thursday night in Pavillion.
The win lifts the Cougars to a 10-3 record for the season.
Shoshoni never challenged in the game, falling behind early with an inconsistent offense that relied heavily on the short-range shooting of Raine Pingetzer and the wide-open floor game of Olivia Thompson.
Wind River's offense was much more balanced, with Lexy Brown dominating play on the low block, Alexa Wagon hitting from deep outside, and Josee Vogel filling in in-between. Tory Thoman and Macayla Arrington added an inside-outside element to head coach Justin Walker's offense as well.
But it was the Wind River defense that kept the Wranglers at bay. Walker utilized a 1-3-1 trapping zone sporadically throughout the contest, which resulted in a turnover for Shoshoni every time.
The 1-3-1 zone puts pressure on the point guard and requires precise passing for a successful response from the opposing team. There weren't many perfect passes for the Wranglers Thursday night, though, and in one series Arrington snagged three straight steals as Shoshoni tried to throw the ball through the teeth of the zone.
The only flaw with the 1-3-1 for the Cougars is team conditioning at this point of the season.
"It's a great defense for us, but it takes a lot out of the girls," Walker said. "We just don't have the conditioning to run it more than a few minutes at a time."
With Wagon hounding the ball, Thoman and Vogel on the wings and Arrington anchoring the middle, the defense only works if Brown runs the baseline frenetically.Regardless, the Cougars executed the play successfully on about a dozen Shoshoni possessions in the game. The two times the Wranglers didn't turn the ball over in the face of the 1-3-1, they were forced to shoot from the perimeter, setting up fast breaks for Wind River.
Shoshoni relies heavily on the play of Thompson, and the Cougars held her scoreless in the opening period.Quick, with good size and outstanding endurance, Thompson was able to break free in the second and third periods to tally 13 points including a rare three-pointer, but she couldn't pull it off alone. Repeated turnovers ended any chance of a Shoshoni comeback.
Wagon's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the close of the third period affirmed the Cougars' efforts, and cruised to the win in the final minutes.
The Wind River team travels to Thermopolis on Saturday. The Wranglers continue conference play Friday, when they will face a young, talented Wyoming Indian squad at Ethete.
WIND RIVER 16 11 12 12 - 51
SHOSHONI 4 11 8 15 - 38
Wind River - Josee Vogel 4 (1) 0-0 11, Tory Thoman 1 (1) 0-1 5, Whisper Sunrhodes 1 0-0 2, Alexa Wagon 2 (2) 0-0 10, Lexy Brown 8 0-0 16, Macayla Arrington 2 1-2 5, Michaun Yellowplume 2-2 2; Totals 18 (4) 3-5 51
Shoshoni - Annika Dechert 1 0-0 2, Raine Pingetzer 4 3-4 11, Katelyn Jennings 1 1-4 3, AudryaTarango 1 0-0 2, Rachel Goff 1 0-0 2, Jen Dechert (1) 0-0 3, Olivia Thompson 6 (1) 0-1 15; Totals 14 (2) 4-10 38
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