Jan 13, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCoach Terry Hopkin was concerned over how his Lander Valley High School Tigers boys basketball players would respond after a long layoff for Christmas break.
But the Tigers didn't show any signs of rust in pounding Star Valley 48-29 on Friday night before a good crowd at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.
Lander followed it up Saturday afternoon for a 51-42 victory vs. Jackson.
In their last outing before Christmas break, the Tigers lost to Douglas in overtime in the final game of the Douglas Classic.
"The time off gave us a little more time to work on some different things," Hopkin said. "I thought that defensively we did a pretty good job against Star Valley."
The two wins gave Lander a 9-1 overall mark. The Tigers are 3-0 in Class 3-A West conference play.
"Star Valley is always right there, and they can play with anybody," Hopkin said. "You can't count them out any time.I thought that our kids controlled their emotions and played a very good offensive game."
Lander played this weekend without starter Jess Oldham.
The senior was showing cattle at a convention in Denver.
"Hopefully, Jess is getting a national championship," Hopkin said.
Hunter Bregar stepped into a starting role for the Tigers.
"Hunter did a great job," Hopkin said. "He is a good leader and a good floor general. He understands the game. He can get some of the younger kids in possession." The Tigers next take on Class 4-A cross-county Riverton High School this Thursday night at Wolverine Gym in Riverton.
Lander 48, Star Valley 29
Hopkin said point guard Marvin Aragon had one of his better games on the defensive side.
"Marvin did a great job on Star Valley's point guard," Hopkin said. "It was tough for the kid to go left-hand. Marvin kept forcing him to go left in that direction. It kind of messed up their offense a little bit. Marvin worked really hard."
In the third quarter, the Tigers pulled away from Star Valley to cruise into the victory column.
"We came out and we got the ball inside to Cooxooeii Black and Jaxon Hedges," Hopkin said. "We preach that you have to come out strong in the third quarter and put a little pressure on them and see how they handle everything."
Black scored 20 points, and Winger added 14 points for Lander's offense.
"Casey is another leader for us," Hopkin said. "Those are the types of players that you have to have to make sure everything is clicking."
Lander 51, Jackson 42
A sharp shooting touch from Jackson kept the visiting team in the game with Lander on Saturday afternoon.
"I thought that maybe we were going to have some kind of a letdown," Hopkin said. "It's a big win when you can beat Star Valley."
Jackson finished the game with eight 3-pointers.
"Jackson is a fast and quick team," Hopkin said. "They put up a lot of 3-pointers. You have to get out and defend. With Jackson hitting that many 3-pointers, we were lucky to come out on top."
In the second quarter, Jackson outscored Lander 20-6.
The Tigers made it back on track in the third quarter by outscoring its opponent 16-7.
"I thought that we did a lot better job of looking for the open people and taking care of the basketball," Hopkin said.
Winger tallied 18 points, and Bregar finished at 11.
Lander 48, Star Valley 29
LVHS 12 8 13 15 -- 48
SVHS 4 7 4 14 -- 29
Lander -- Kobey Simpson 2 0-0 2, Jaxon Hedges 1 2-4 4, Hunter Bregar 1 (2) 1-1 6, Cooxooeii Black 9 2-2 20, Casey Winger 5 4-4 14. Totals 18 (1) 9-11 46.
Star Valley -- Brenson Muir 1 0-0 2, Cody Orton 2 2-2 6, Brady Fullmer 2 0-0 4, Cole Critchfield 4 3-4 11, Robby Smith 1 0-0 2, Chris Erickson 1 0-0 2, Tad Graham 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 5-6 29.
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