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Rams drop close first-round game to Guernsey at state

Mar 6, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports Writer

CASPER -- In the most entertaining game of the opening round at the state 1-A/2-A basketball tournament, the Dubois Rams battled the Guernsey Sunrise Vikings for a full 32 minutes before a late rally led by Viking junior guard Treasure Hollister decided the final 48-42 outcome.

A tentative opening period had the feel of a title fight, as both teams were hesitant offensively. The Vikings built a 6-5 lead after one quarter largely on the play of Brady Esquibel.

Dubois used its size effectively, with Walker Carrico and Austin Tharp combining for three opening-period blocked shots. Guernsey was not used to handling larger players, and altered shots abounded for the Vikings throughout the opening half.

The second featured three ties and four lead changes, with Dubois going inside to Carrico or scoring on drives by Kolter Leseberg and Nathan Moore.

Guernsey's offense consisted almost entirely of Esquibel, who eventually tallied 22 points to lead all scorers.

Neither team had a deep bench, and three early fouls on Leseberg hampered the Ram offense. Guernsey has just one player who could match Tharp and Carrico in the paint in 6-4 junior Nick Cunningham, and he too exited the game early with his third foul.

Dubois took a 16-14 advantage into the half.

The third was a change of pace, with Dubois tallying 18 and Guernsey-Sunrise pouring in 21 points.

Moore began penetrating with baseline drives, and the Dubois guards found Tharp in the low post to keep the score see awing through the period. A Moore bank shot gave the Rams a brief lead with 1:03 left in the third, but Guernsey answered via an Esquibel drive.

Moore gave the Rams the lead for a final time with 7:11 left on another shot off the glass, and Tharp tied it twice on back to back post moves at 38 and 40.

Guernsey took a timeout after Tharp's second basket with 3:53 remaining and came out in a full-court press. The Rams handled it initially with Leseberg and Ryan Eulberg breaking the pressure. Guernsey substituted Austin Quynn back into the game, and he promptly hammered Eulberg with a hard foul on the baseline. Eulberg had to leave the game after the play and didn't return until just over a minute remained.

Quynn attempted to foul Tharp in the same manner but ended up on the floor when the big man tossed him aside after the play.

An Esquibel trey and three-of-four foul shooting by Hollister sealed the win for the Vikings.

Dubois faces Lingle Fort Laramie in loser-out action Friday at noon at Casper College.

DUBOIS 5 11 18 8 - 52

GUERNSEY SUNRISE 6 8 21 13 -- 48

Dubois - Austin Tharp 3 3-6 9, Walker Carrico 6 3-4 15, Ryan Eulberg 1 1-2 3, Kolter Leseberg 3 1-4 7, Nathan Moore 4 0-0 8. Totals 16 (1) 7-12 48

Guernsey Sunrise - Treasure Hollister 3 5-7 11, Brady Esquibel 7 (1) 5-5 22, Nicholas Cunningham 2 4-4 8, Isaac Carr 2 3-3 7. Totals 14 (1) 17-21 48

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