Dec 2, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorAfter suffering a 25-point setback Friday night to Riverton High School on Friday night, the Lander Valley High School boys basketball team bounced back to win a pair of basketball games Saturday at the Riverton Invitational.
The Tigers held on to beat the Lovell Bulldogs 39-34 at Riverton Middle School.
The Bulldogs entered the season ranked No. 2 in Class 2-A after finishing in the runner-up position at the state tournament last season.
"It's nice to play a little better than we did the night before," LVHS coach Terry Hopkin said. "Lovell is a quality team. They are right at the top of 2-A."
The Tigers followed up the five-point win with a 52-27 victory over the struggling Worland Warriors in the last game of the tournament at RMS.
The Warriors are in the 3-A East conference this season. LVHS is set to play in the 3-A West.
"The game with Riverton was a great game for us," Hopkin said. "It gives us a lot to look at. They pounded on us pretty good, but we did learn a lot. We came out a little better Saturday."
LVHS plays Class 4-A Green River Tuesday night on the road.
The Tigers now 2-1 on the season will host the Lyman Eagles in the Class 3-A West conference opener at 4:45 p.m. Saturday at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.
LVHS 39, Lovell 34
The Tigers played a strong first quarter on the defensive side of the ball to take an 8-4 lead into the second quarter.
In the next quarter, Lander's 6-foot-7 center, Lucas Watkins, was the player in charge in the inside against Lovell's center Cody Savage.
Watkins scored nine consecutive points to build a 17-6 lead.
One of those field goals was a 3-pointer from Watkins. LVHS had a 21-11 halftime lead.
"Our defense played as tough as I have ever seen it play since I have been here," Hopkin said. "We played very good man-to-man, and we created a lot of turnovers. Lovell didn't get very many good shots off in the first half. We kept them off balance pretty good."
In the second half, Savage hit a 3-pointer of his own to pull the Bulldogs to within 29-23 late in the third period.
Watkins ended the quarter with a long two-point field goal for a 31-23 advantage. "Lucas played an excellent game," Hopkin said. "He is hitting the boards better."
In the fourth quarter, Savage recorded four points to make it a 37-32 game for LVHS.
LVHS put in a basket late to clinch the victory.
"We need to take control of the ball and work the clock a little bit better," Hopkin said. "This is a young and inexperienced basketball team. We didn't do that. We let them back in the game. We had a lot of bad passes. We travelled two or three times. It was another good experience for us learning in a tight ballgame."
Watkins finished with 19 points and Savage had 20 points in the center showdown.
Lander 39, Lovell 34
LANDER 8 13 10 8 -- 39
LOVELL 4 7 12 11 -- 34
Lander -- Jordan Crane 3 0-1 6, Hunter Bregar 1 0-0 2 . Casey Winger 4 0-0 8, Alex Hogan 0 1-2 1, Adam Shipley 1 1-2 3, Lucas Watkins 7 (1) 2-4 19. Totals 16 (1) 2-5 39.
Lovell -- Mike McArthur 0 1-4 1, Brandon Welvington 1 0-0 2, Dylon Huttgren 1 0-0 2. Ryan Clark 3 3-4 9, Cody Savage 7 (1) 3-3 20. Totals 12 (1) 7-11 34.
Lander boys 52, Worland 27
LVHS 18 14 8 12 -- 52
WORLAND 8 7 6 6 -- 27
Lander -- Jordan Crane (1) 0-0 3, Jesse Oldham (1) 0-0 3, Hunter Bregar 1 2-2 4, CooXooeii Black 5 1-1 11, Casey Winger 3 2-2 8, Adam Shipley 2 2-2 6, Lucas Watkins 7 0-0 14, 21 (1) 7-7 52.
Worland -- Armstrong 3 1-2 7, Worrall (2) 0-0 6, Mortimer 3 0-0 6, Schriber 4 0-0 8. totals 10 (2) 1-2 27.
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