Mar 5, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorMomentum is on the side of the Lander Tigers this week heading into the Class 3-A West boys and girls regional tournaments in Mountain View.
After sweeping Pinedale on Monday in a doubleheader at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse, the Tigers can now start focusing on the postseason.
The Lander boys are the No. 1 seed after ending the regular season with a 20-3 overall mark and a 14-1 league record.
A 66-52 victory Monday night for the Lander girls over Pinedale left a four-way tie for third-place in the Class 3-A West basketball conference standings.
Due to the tie-breaking system, the Tigers will be the No. 5 seed for the tournament. Star Valley is the No. 4 seed, and Cody collected the third spot. Lyman dipped to the No. 6 position.
All the teams finished with identical 8-6 marks.
In the regular season, Star Valley swept Lander.
The Tigers went 1-1 vs. Cody.
Lander finished 6-1 in the second half of the conference season. The Tigers were 2-5 in the first half.
The Tigers now play Pinedale at noon on Thursday in the opening round of the tournament.
"It's not a great thing," Lander coach Terry Hopkin said about the quick rematch.
The winner of Lander-Pinedale plays in the semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday vs. the winner of Star Valley (No. 4 seed) vs. Jackson (No. 5 seed).
On the other side of the bracket, Cody (No. 2 seed) plays Mountain View (No. 7 seed) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Lyman (No. 6 seed) challenges Powell (No. 3 seed) at 8:30 p.m. to round out the first day.
"It's a tough field," Hopkin said. "I'm glad that we are not playing the Mountain View team that is playing at home. They have shown that they can score up. People better be aware of them."
Mountain View and Lyman are separated by less than 10 miles.
"Lyman is playing at home as well," Hopkin said. "You have to play some good basketball."
The top four teams from the regional tournament advance to the state tournament.
The winner of the Lander-Star Valley contest at the regional tournament plays the winner of Powell (No. 1 seed) vs. Jackson (No. 8 seed) at 4 p.m. Friday in one of the semifinals. The consolation game is at 9 a.m. Friday.
"I think that regional is wide open," Lander coach Spike Robinson said. "We are playing really well, but nothing would surprise me."
Offensively, the Tigers are pushing the ball up the court whenever the opportunity comes up.
"The kids are finding open people," Robinson said. "Our defense has really matured over the season. It's better now than it was."
Robinson believes Star Valley is a good opponent for the Tigers in the opening round.
"We are a little bit bigger than them," Robinson said. "We are pretty evenly matched. Star Valley just has a lot of kids that do a lot of stuff for them. We can't really focus on one player. You just have to play good team defense."
At 4 p.m. Thursday, Cody (No. 3 seed) takes on Lyman (No. 6 seed).
Mountain View (No. 2 seed) has a 5:30 p.m. date with Pinedale (No. 7 seed).
Class 3-A West basketball tournament
Game 3 -- Lander (No. 1 seed) vs. Pinedale (No. 8 seed), 12 p.m.
Game 4 -- Star Valley (No. 4 seed) vs. Jackson (No. 5 seed), 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 -- Cody (No. 2 seed) vs. Mountain View (No. 7 seed), 7 p.m.
Game 8 -- Powell (No. 3 seed) vs. Lyman (No. 6 seed), 8:30 p.m.
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