Mar 7, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterWIHS faces conference rival Greybull in the fnal four Friday night. The title game will be played onR00;Saturday night at the Casper Events Center to end the three-day tournament.
CASPER -- Casper College hasn't always been friendly to the Wyoming Indian Chiefs, even when they are the heavy favorite to win the state tournament.
Fourth-seeded Burns gave the No. 1, once-beaten beaten Chiefs everything they wanted for most of three periods before Wyoming Indian pulled away for a 58-47 opening round win.
The Chiefs face West 2-A rival Greybull at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Casper Events Center in semifinal action. Burns plays Lusk in a loser-out at noon on the same floor.
The Chiefs were tentative in the opening period against Burns, scoring just nine points. Freshman Buell Robinson hit a 3-pointer.
"Maybe (we) put too much pressure on them," Wyoming Indian head coach Craig Ferris said. "The first game is always the hardest for us."
Burns trailed by just a basket entering the second period and handled Wyoming Indian's pressure well for most of the half.
Burns graduate 10 of the 12 tournament players listed as seniors. They have blazing speed in Cory Lemaster and Taylor Kirkbride and imposing presence with 6-4 senior post Travis Romsa.
The Broncs used their collective experience to handle Wyoming Indian's talented lineup in the opening half and trailed just 25-21 at the break.
That all changed in the third period as the WIHS offense came untracked behind a swarming pressure defense. Though he didn't score, Keegan Her Many Horses gave the Chiefs a big defensive lift in the third.
"He plays defense and rebounds, and that's what he did for us today," Ferris said.
Wyoming Indian erupted on an 11-2 run to open the third period behind the stellar play of Jared Mosqueda from the perimeter, Joseph Howell in the post, and Wilson Clifford in between. Burns didn't slow the onslaught until 3:05 remained in the third, when Lemaster broke free for a layup and ensuing free throw.
Burns rallied in the final period to close to six points on a pair of Kirkbride free throws with 4:08 left, Robinson answered with a pair of his own as the Chiefs built the lead back to eight.
In perhaps the best sequence of the game, Howell took a defensive rebound, whirled on his pivot foot, hit Clifford with an outlet pass, and Clifford blistered a hard pass to Robinson near the rim for a transition layup that went the length of the floor in just two seconds.
The play put the Chiefs up 51-41. They never looked back.
Mosqueda and Robinson paced the Chiefs with 14 points each, Howell added a dozen, and Clifford scored nine.
Lemaster led Burns with 12. Romsa added 10.
WYOMING INDIAN 9 16 14 19 - 58
BURNS 7 14 5 21 -- 47
Wyoming Indian - Noah Valdez 2 (1) 0-0 7, Jared Mosqueda 5 (1) 1-2 14, Wilson Clifford 4 1-4 9, Joseph Howell 4 4-8 12, Buell Robinson 2 (1) 7-8 14, Trevor Williamson 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 (3) 13-22 58
Burns - Cory Lemaster 4 (1) 1-1 12, Cody Leader 3 2-2 8, Preston Goehring 2 0-1 4, Taylor Kirkbride 1 5-8 7, Mikky Heward 2 2-5 6, Travis Romsa 3 4-4 10. Totals 15 (1) 14-21 47
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