Jan 20, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterETHETE -- It had the feel of a title fight from start to finish Friday night at Ethete as the Wyoming Indian and Wind River girls battled for the early lead in the Class 2-A Southwest conference.
Both schools sported easy wins over Shoshoni in their only conference action so far, and the Cougars beat the Chiefs last month in the Fremont County Shoot Out in a non-league game, but Friday's game had postseason connotations.
The Cougars rallied in the final minutes to edge the Chiefs 66-62 and moved to 2-0 in league play in the process.
Saturday the Chiefs took care of Northwest 2-A Rocky Mountain 61-45 .
Neither squad played well in the opening half, perhaps a testament to the familiarity of the two opponents. Wind River taking a five-point lead after one behind the play of senior Lexy Brown. Brown hit a pair of 3-pointers and added a post move and free throw to tally nine of the Cougars' 14 first-period points, but she picked up a couple of fouls as well.
Kenzi Calf Boss Ribs hit a trey for Wyoming Indian, and the Chiefs picked up a pair of transition baskets from Shaylee Lonedog and Loveeda White to keep it close.
The second period featured the best offense of the evening although turnovers plagued both teams.Wyoming Indian's offense was balanced, while Wind River relied on the inside play of Macayla Arrington and short jumpers from Tory Thoman in a seesaw eight minutes of play.
The third opened with a Lonedog layup and a White drive, and the game was knotted for the first time at 33. The momentum was clearly with Wyoming Indian as head coach Aleta Moss's strategy session at the halftime paid dividends.
Wyoming Indian rolled on a 10-2 run that gave the Chiefs a 43-35 lead with 4:56 remaining in the third and a timeout by Wind River head coach Justin Walker.
The Cougars came out of the break with a set play for Alexa Wagon, and the sophomore drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to break the scoring drought.
The Chiefs blocked out well during the run, limiting Wind River to just one shot on each possession.
Arrington and Thoman hit key baskets to spark Wind River's recovery, but Brown was whistled for her fourth foul with 2:14 left in the third and went to the bench.
Dailyn Friday and Elsie Marquez hit shots to keep the Chiefs up by four points in the early fourth period before Wind River senior Josee Vogel came to life and took over the game.
Vogel scored a dozen points in the final six minutes, including four of five from the line, to lead the Cougar comeback.
Her steal and layup with 6:23 remaining tied the game at 52. The Chiefs took the lead on a White jumper, but Arrington tied it again at 54. Lonedog took a defensive rebound and dribbled coast to coast for a Chiefs lead at 56-55. Vogel hit a pair of follow shots and Brown converted two free throws before fouling out with 1:30 left to hold off the Chiefs.
"We just need to be consistent through three quarters," Walker said.
With every free throw a possible game winner, Vogel missed one, but the Chiefs were whistled for a lane infraction even though Wagon was the only player who moved on the block.
The call brought a quick challenge from Moss but officials kept the call, and Vogel hit the second attempt from the line.
Lonedog knotted the game a final time at 62 on a pair of free throws, but a Vogel post move put the Cougars ahead for good. Wagon converted a pair of free throws with nine seconds left for the final margin.
WYOMING INDIAN 9 20 19 14 -- 62
WIND RIVER 14 19 14 19 -- 66
Wyoming Indian - Elsie Marquez 2 0-0 4, Kenzi Calf Boss Ribs 1 (1) 2-2 7, Loveeda White 4 0-1 8, Rhiannon Mitchell 1 1-4 3, Amyrn Brown 4 (1) 3-6 14, Jasmine McGill 4-4 4, Taylor Harris 3-4 3, Shaylee Lonedog 6 3-4 15, Dailyn Friday 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 (2) 16-25 62
Wind River - Josee Vogel 7 7-10 17, Tory Thomas 4 1-3 9, Whisper SunRhodes 1 0-0 2, Alexa Wagon 1 (1) 0-0 5, Lexy Brown 3 (2) 3-6 15, Macayla Arrington 4 2-4 10, Michaun Yellowplume 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 (3) 13-23 66
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