Mar 7, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe Lander Tigers dominated Pinedale in the final two quarters to take a 71-49 win in the first game of the Class 3-A West regional boys basketball tournament Thursday at Mountain View High School.
Lander has the No. 1 seed for the double-elimination tournament after winning the regular season crown.
Lander crushed Pinedale 72-48 on Monday to warm up for the postseason.
"Defensively, I don't think that we came out as strong as I hoped that we would," Lander coach Terry Hopkin said. "I thought that the kids were thinking because we won on Monday that it was going to be an easy game."
In the first half, Pinedale stayed with the Tigers and only trailed by six points.
"Pinedale shot the ball really well in the first half," Hopkin said.
Lander came out high energy in the third quarter to quickly pull away from Pinedale. Lander's Casey Winger dropped in 22 points.
"It was just a matter of getting our heads in the game," Hopkin said. "Pinedale cooled down a little bit in the second half."
The Tigers play Star Valley Friday night in one of the semifinal games.
Lander swept the regular season series from Star Valley.
"Star Valley will be a huge challenge for us," Hopkin said. "Star Valley played really well against Jackson" in an opening-day win.
The winner makes the championship game and qualifies for the state tournament.
The consolation game is 1:30 p.m. Saturday between the winner of Mountain View-Lyman.
In the other games on Thursday, Star Valley downed Jackson 55-45. Cody made it past Mountain View 63-56, and Powell defeated Lyman 56-49.
"Star Valley had a full-court press against Jackson," Hopkin said. "We are going to have to handle that pressure to keep our turnovers down. Hopefully, Star Valley will get out of that press."
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