Feb 24, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterPAVILLION -- Peaking at the end of the season is a key to successful tournament play. While the regular season for Wyoming Indian High School's boys was stellar, it looks like the Chiefs have stepped it up a notch with the regional and state tournaments looming over the next two weeks.
Wyoming Indian routed a feisty Wind River team 84-46 Friday night in Pavillion to win the Class 2-A Southwest conference and lock up the top seed next Thursday at Riverton in regional play.
The Chiefs finished 7-1 in the league, tied with Big Piney, but by virtue of defeating Greybull the Chiefs get the top seed. Greybull defeated Big Piney to break the deadlock.
Crisp, quick passing and constant movement away from the ball kept the Wind River defense on its heels for much of the game. The Chiefs raced to a 15-1 lead in familiar fashion, with Buell Robinson draining a pair of treys, Tristan Gardner hitting another, and Chief forwards Joseph Howell, Wilson Clifford and Trevor Williamson taking the ball hard inside.
Wind River's lone point in the opening seven minutes came on a Bryce Hankins free throw.
Delshai Roanhorse hit a follow shot with 1:21 left in the first for Wind River's first basket.
Robinson ended the dominating quarter with a towering trey that ticked the twine as the buzzer sounded giving the Chiefs a 20-5 advantage.
Wyoming Indian is familiar with the mercy rule and built a 40-point lead over Shoshoni the night before in just 12 minutes, but with the running clock looming Wind River rallied and kept the huge margin at bay for much of the game.
The Chiefs jumped into 1-2-2 zone press with all five players in the forecourt at the five-minute mark of the second period and picked up a few steals, but not in the traditional transition fashion. The Chiefs continued their excellent halfcourt passing attack, leaving Gardner and Jared Mosqueda open on the wings for uncontested 3-pointers.
Wind River was able to break the press after the initial shock, but Wyoming Indian continued to work the perimeter. Three more treys rained in, with Noah Valdez hitting a pair and Mosqueda nailing another one.
Wind River hit its only trey of the opening half when Cory Cress beat the halftime buzzer, but the Chiefs led by 36 after a 30-point burst in the second period.
Wyoming Indian's offense resembled the Xs and Os of a playbook on fast-break basketball in the third period.
A highlight came with the 6-foot-5 Williamson taking a long defensive rebound and dribbling up the middle of the floor with Valdez and Robinson on the wings. The big man waited for the lone Cougar defender to commit, looked off to Valdez, hit Robinson with a bounce pass. Robinson lofted the ball high on the backside of the rim, where Williamson caught it in midair and hit a layup.
The Chiefs continued their form of basketball ballet through the remainder of the game with a variety of lineups as players rotated in and out for Wyoming Indian constantly.
Wind River found a nice surprise in 6-3 freshman Taylor Tidzump who played the best game of his career against the league champions. Tidzump rebounded well and paced the Cougars with a dozen points.
Wyoming Indian led by more than points for nearly the entire second and third periods. The Chiefs finally put the game in running clock mode on a trey by freshman Kane Big Lake with 4:29 remaining in the game. The shot moved the Chiefs' margin to 77-37.
After the weekend games, Wyoming Indian enters Thursday's regional against either Thermopolis or Riverside, the fourth seed from the Northwest. Wind River opens with Rocky Mountain. The Cougars tied with Kemmerer for third in the conference, but a coin toss gave the Cougars the third seed. Kemmerer opens with Northwest champion Greybull.
WIND RIVER 5 11 14 16 - 46
WYOMING INDIAN 20 30 15 19 - 84
Wind River - Caleb C'Bearing 3-4 3, Xavier Oats 1 1-2 3, Brett Roanhorse 2 0-0 4, Bryce Hankins 2 3-4 7, Delshai Roanhorse 3 0-0 6, Cory Cress (2) 2-2 8, Taylor Tidzump 6 0-1 12, Ben LaJeunesse (1) 0-0 3. Totals 14 (3) 9-13 46
Wyoming Indian - Cory Lame Bear 2 0-0 4, Noah Valdez (2) 0-0 6, Jared Mosqueda 2 (3) 3-4 13, Kane Big Lake (1) 0-0 3, Ryan Tiger 1 (1) 0-0 5, Derek Aragon (1) 0-0 3, Wilson Clifford 3 (1) 3-5 12, Joseph Howell 2 0-3 4, Tristan Gardner (2) 0-0 6, Keegan Her Many Horses 1 0-0 2, Buell Robinson 1 (3) 0-0 11, Robert Aragon 2-2 2, Trevor Williamson 6 0-0 12. Totals 17 (14) 8-14 84
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