Jan 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorPAVILLION -- It was business as usual Friday night in Ethete night in the long-standing rivalry between the Wyoming Indian Chiefs and the Wind River Cougars.
The Chiefs rolled over the boys from Pavillion 75-54 to move to 2-0 in the Southwest 2-A ,while Wind River dropped to 1-1 with the loss.
The Chiefs survived a scare Saturday in Cowley, edging Rocky Mountain 69-66 in non-conference action.
Late last month the Chiefs poured in on the Cougars in the Fremont County shootout, rolling past Wind River via the 40-point mercy rule with a running clock.
This time neither team played very well offensively, perhaps a statement on the familiarity of the two squads with each other.
The game featured the return to the hardwood of a key player for each team. Senior Joey Aragon broke his ankle in the final football game of the season against Shoshoni and entered the game to rousing applause from the Wyoming Indian faithful. Aragon tallied six points in limited action.
For Wind River, senior Ward Gordon suffered a season-ending knee injury during football as well and returned with a heavy knee brace. Gordon played limited minutes as well.
In the early going it was Roger Wagon / Alvin Spoonhunter show as each scored a short range jumper and a 3-pointer leading to a 5-5 tie. Caleb C'Bearing hit a layup, and Wagon found Ryan Weliever on a post move to lift Wind River to a surprising 9-5 advantage with 4:57 left in the first.
But the lead vanished like snow on an April morning, as Wyoming Indian closed out the first on a 16-3 run. Spoonhunter, Aragon and Wilson Clifford all hit baskets, while Tyler Penatac found the range twice. Joseph Howell hit a pair of free throws to lead the surge.
A season highlight came on a two-on-one fast break by Clifford and Howell that featured Howell hitting Clifford with a bullet pass high in the air and Clifford tossing the ball back to Howell while still in the air for an uncontested layup.
The Chiefs continued to dominate in the second period, bumping their lead to 19 by intermission. The stanza featured excellent ball movement by the Chiefs with quick passes around the perimeter that found close range shots repeatedly.
Wyoming Indian slowly pulled away in the third, but the shot selection wasn't the best. The outstanding passing of the second period faded to a series of one-on-one moves or quick shots after a single pass.
Spoonhunter picked up the pace and finished the game with 27 points to lead all scorers. Howell added 11, hitting five of six from the line.
Brody Miller led the Cougars with 18, including eight of nine from the charity stripe. Wagon finished with 11 and a pair of treys.
Both teams make the run over South Pass to play Kemmerer and Big Piney on opposite nights this weekend.
WYOMING INDIAN 21 18 16 20 -- 75
WIND RIVER 12 8 11 23 -- 54
Wyoming Indian -- Shane Willow 1 0-0 2, Tyler Penetac 2 0-0 4, Donald Clifford 1 0-0 2, Tristan Gardner 1 0-0 2, Joey Aragon 3 0-0 6, Wilson Clifford 4 2-2 10, Joseph Howell 3 5-6 11, Alvin Spoonhunter 11 (2) 0-2 28, Trevor Williamson 3 3-4 9. Totals 29 (2) 11-14 75.
Wind River -- Caleb C'Bearing 1 (1) 3-4 8, Brett Roanhorse 2 0-0 4, Clayton Reinick 1 0-0 2, Ryan Weliever 3 0-2 , Bryce Hankins (1) 0-0 3, Brody Miller 5 8-9 18, Roger Wagon 1 (2) 3-4 11, Luke Tidzump 2-2 2. Totals 13 (4) 16-19 54.
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