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Cougars down Thermopolis in thriller
Brodie Miller of Wind River rose for two of his game-high 19 points as Thermopolis defenders Kaden Hahn and Kacy Conner closed on the play. Photo by Randy Tucker

Cougars erase 18-point lead, come back to down Thermopolis in thriller

Dec 23, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Sports Writer

PAVILLION -- Thermopolis dominated Wind River for an entire half only to see the margin vanish like a cloud of smoke in the face of a 43-point second half by the Cougars.

Wind River came from 18 down in the third period to take a 61-58 win over the Bobcats.

The rally was fueled by 19 points from sophomore Brodie Miller and another 16 from Roger Wagon.

Miller tallied all of his points on quick, twisting moves around the basket with deft flicks of the ball that sent it whirling in over the shorter Bobcat defenders.

Wagon stayed well outside the physical play in the post and hit four 3-pointers. He also was 4-5 from the line.

In a strange opening sequence, both teams flailed away from the perimeter with little regard for the short range shot or passes to the post.

Wind River senior Ryan Weliever was the exception, taking the ball inside and keeping the Cougars in the game with eight of the Cougars' 18 first half points.

Wind River's collective effort seemed in doubt in the second period as the Cougars played lackadaisically on defense and didn't pass the ball well on offense.

Thermopolis moved the ball around well, with five players scoring in the second.

Trailing 36-18 at intermission it looked like the Bobcats were on the verge of routing the Cougars on their home floor but something changed at intermission.

Wind River didn't pass the ball with any more efficiency in the third but long, arching 3-point attempts bounced high in the air near the rim repeatedly, and Miller went high above the Thermopolis defenders to hit seven putbacks in the second half.

Thermopolis was ice cold as well but couldn't keep Weliever and Miller off the boards. The Bobcats got only one shot on most second-half possessions.

Wind River crept ever closer in the final period, with freshman Caleb C'Bearing hitting the second of his two 3-pointers to close the gap to 55-52 with 3:03 left in the game. A Miller follow shot cut the lead to a single point, but a trey from Tyler Cornwell moved the margin back to 58-54 in favor of the Cats.

Wagon hit a long-range bomb with 2:04 left to answer.

Holding a shaky one-point lead Thermopolis head coach Ernie Mecca put the Bobcats in a delay, but C'Bearing stole the ball with 49 seconds left. The Cougars missed a pair of outside shots but Miller pulled down one of the rebounds and put the ball back in for Wind River's first lead with 27 seconds left to play.

Thermopolis was unable to get off a shot, and Miller tied up the ball with two seconds left on the clock. The Bobcats fouled Miller on the entry pass and he hit both free throws for the three-point victory.

Wind River competes in the Fremont County Shootout next week in Ethete.

WIND RIVER 13 5 20 23 -- 61

THERMOPOLIS 16 20 9 13 -- 58

Wind River -- Caleb C'Bearing (2) 0-0 6, Clayton Reinick 4 0-0 8, Zach Lindstadt 1 0-0 2, Ryan Weliever 4 2-4 10, Brodie Miller 8 3-5 19, Roger Wagon (4) 4-5 16. Totals 17 (6) 9-14 61

Thermopolis -- Skylar Thomas 1 (3) 1-4 12, Tanner Abbott 4 1-2 9, Kaden Haun 2 1-2 3, Kacy Conner 5 4-8 14, Lane Schmidt 2 (2) 0-1 10, Tyler Cornell 1 (2) 2-3 10. Totals 14 (7) 9-19 58

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