Mar 2, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLander Valley High School came up on top in a pair of opening-round basketball games at the Class 3-A West regional tournament on Thursday in Jackson.
The Tiger boys defeated Mountain View 54-40, and the LVHS girls pulled away late from Pinedale to register a 73-64 win.
"We had a great fourth quarter," LVHS girls coach Spike Robinson said. "Pinedale is really athletic and bigger than us."
In one of the semifinals, the LVHS boys play Star Valley at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Star Valley beat Jackson 66-53 in its first game of the postseason. Powell and Lyman are in the other semifinal game at 5:30 p.m.
Star Valley and the Tigers went 1-1 in the regular season.
In the last meeting, Lander's Lucas Watkins hit the game-winning shot for a 46-44 victory against Star Valley at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.
"Star Valley is going to be a tough one for us," LVHS coach Terry Hopkin said. "We are going to have to really play defense against them because they have some great shooters."
The winner of Friday's semifinal game qualifies for the state tournament and plays in the title game at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The loser will play at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in a must-win game to qualify for state.
The LVHS girls challenge Star Valley at 7 p.m. in a semifinal contest.
The Braves had an easy 56-34 victory on Thursday over Jackson. Star Valley went 2-0 on the regular season vs. LVHS.
"We are excited to play Star Valley, and we are ready to get them," Robinson said. "We need to control the boards at the end of the game if we can keep it close."
The consolation game is at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Cody and Powell tangled in the early semifinal game on Friday afternoon.
LVHS boys 54, Mountain View 40
"We didn't shoot very well in the first quarter," Hopkin said. "We came back and played better in the second quarter. The kids played a lot better from the second quarter on."
The Tigers kept the pressure on vs. Mountain View after the sluggish first quarter.
"We were moving the ball a little better in the second quarter," Hopkin said. "We took the ball to the hoop. We started to score some easy baskets, and that made the difference in the game."
Hopkin said Watkins (13 points), Derek Peil (six points) and Derrick Spriggs (six points) were three key players in the victory.
"Mountain View would hold the ball for two or three minutes at a time," Hopkin said. "We just pressure-defensed them."
LVHS point guard Austin Roberts played against Mountain View after he missed the last week of the regular season because of an injured knee. Roberts scored seven points.
"Austin played about 85 percent of the game," Hopkin said. "He ran the team and played well defensively."
Zach Sanders paced LVHS with 16 points.
LVHS girls 73, Pinedale 64
"We were making shots in the fourth quarter and got to the free throw line more," said Robinson on why LVHS claimed the win."
Lander's two inside players, Mallory Swenson and Kaylnn Cox-Mantlo, both stepped in the second half.
"Our big girls both played terrific," Robinson said. "We got some good play off the bench from Keesha Rowan."
Kristi Ragan led four players in double figures at 20 points.
Shanda Post and Cox-Mantlo dropped in 14 points apiece, and Mallory Swenson had 13.
Thursday's scores from Class 3-A
West regional tournament
Cody 52, Lyman 35
Powell 29, Mountain View 24
Lander Valley High School 73, Pinedale 64
Star Valley 56, Jackson Hole 34
Powell 76, Pinedale 30
Lyman 42, Cody 36
Lander Valley High School 54, Mountain View 40
Star Valley 66, Jackson Hole 53
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