Mar 18, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorWyoming Indian High School Chiefs head boys basketball coach Craig Ferris is making it a habit of coaching in Class 2-A title games at the Casper Events Center.
With help from his brother -- and assistant coach -- Mike Hiwalker, the Chiefs brought home the Class 2-A state title, beating Rocky Mountain in the championship game on Saturday, March. 8.
Wyoming Indian emerged early as a title contender in December.
"It's unbelievable to think that in the past six years, we have played in five state championship games and won four," Ferris said. "When I first started coaching, I never thought that I would have that kind of success."
Wyoming Indian posted a 28-1 record this year.
"The boys buy into what my brother and I do as coaches," Ferris said. "They do a really good job of listening to us and working hard in practice."
The Chiefs were a high-powered offensive machine this year under Ferris.
"They do a good job of making themselves a better basketball players offensively and defensively," Ferris said. "Considering all the talent that we had on this team, I didn't have one problem with any of them being selfish."
After winning the Class 2-A West regional tournament in Riverton, the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed for the state tournament.
Wyoming Indian defeated Burns 58-47 in the opening round, then knocked off Greybull 58-49 for a spot in the title game.
"The first two games were pretty scary," Ferris said.
Rock Mountain upset Big Horn 64-57 in the first game and surprised Pine Bluffs 71-64 to set up contest with the Chiefs for the title.
"I didn't expect to play Rocky Mountain, but they did what they needed to get themselves into the state tournament," Ferris said.
Wyoming Indian took down Rocky Mountain 69-53 in the championship.
The Chiefs lost just once, but it was an important lesson. Big Piney upset Wyoming Indian 60-58 on Jan. 24.
"The loss to Big Piney was an eye opener," Ferris said. "We were beaten teams pretty big and getting those 40-point wins.
"The loss refocused us on finishing the season," Ferris said.
Wyoming Indian dominated Kemmerer 75-20 in the next game to get quickly back on the winning track. They defeated Big Piney in the regular-season rematch and again at the Class 2-A West regional tournament.
Wyoming Indian freshman Buell Robinson and senior Wilson Clifford were selected to the Class 2-A all-state team announced last week.
"Getting two guys on the all-state team is amazing," Ferris said. "It really shows the respect from the coaches that we get."
Robinson and Hunter Thompson of Pine Bluffs were the two freshmen on the Class 2-A team.
"The level of play right now from Buell is amazing," Ferris said. "Hopefully as a coach I can help him get develop more as a player."
More of the same
Ferris doesn't expect the Chiefs to have a lot of drop off for next season.
"Our junior varsity squad went undefeated this past season," Ferris said. "They have only lost one game in the past three years. The future is looking pretty bright for us."
Class 2-A all-state boys basketball
Colton Richerter, senior, Moorcroft; Colter Carzoli, senior, Big Horn; Travis Romsa, senior, Burns; Hunter Dockery, senior, Lusk; Denton Shaw, junior, Lusk; Scott Gross, junior, Pine Bluffs; Hunter Thompson, freshman, Pine Bluffs; Kason Clutter, senior, Greybull; Treston Tracy, sophomore, Greybull; Cannon Simmons, junior, Rocky Mount-ain; Kirby Winland, junior, Rocky Mountain; Buell Robinson, freshman, Wyoming Indian; Wilson Clifford, senior, Wyoming Indian; Nolan Jones, senior, Big Piney.
Class 1-A boys
Tanner Jensen, junior, Little Snake River; Gabriele Sillari, senior, Little Snake River; Guy Erickson, sophomore, Encamp-ment; Preston Wardell, senior, Burlington; Jess McNiven, junior, Burlington; Nick Carrizales, junior, Burlington; Seth Bennett, senior Meeteetse; Austin Tharp, senior, Dubois; Wyatt Burr, senior, Upton; Logan Loberg, junior, Upton; Peyton Ferris, senior, Kaycee; Barry Greenwald, junior, Lingle Fort Laramie; Treasure Hollister, junior, Guernsey; Brady Esquibel, junior, Guernsey.
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