Feb 19, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterSHOSHONI -- The bumper game went to the Cougars. Wind River advanced to the Class 2-A West regional basketball tournament with a solid 59-45 win over Shoshoni on the road in a loser-out "pigtail" game Monday evening.
The loss ends Shoshoni's season, while the Cougars have the monumental task of opening the regional against top-ranked Lovell Thursday at Wolverine Gym in Riverton. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
The regional tournament has been an elusive quest for the Shoshoni boys. The Wranglers have qualified for the tournament only once since its inception in 1997.
The Cougars trailed only once, when Shoshoni's Mason Steffen hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:31 left in the opening period.
Wind River quickly answered with a trey from freshman Delshai Roanhorse 90 seconds later. The Wranglers tied the game again only once at 9-9.
Wind River is laden with freshman this season, and Ryan Weliever is the only senior on the roster. Weliever played exceptional basketball in the win, dominating play in the paint, rebounding well and playing strong against the taller Shoshoni lineup.
Points were hard to come by for Shoshoni, which never clicked offensively. Wind River passed the ball very well in their half-court set.
Freshman guard Caleb C'Bearing played an excellent floor game and passed the ball better than he has all season.
Weliever and juniors Brett Roanhorse and Clayton Renick battled well inside, limiting Shoshoni to just a single shot on most possessions.
"The guys passed the ball very well," Wind River head coach Scott Groenke said. "We concentrated on stopping (Josh) Thoren, and they did a great job defensively on him."
While Wind River passed the ball well and found the open man, Shoshoni's offense consisted primarily of long shots or occasional dribble penetrations by Lawry Johnson with dishes inside to Thoren, Nathaniel Lutz or Jayden Haslam.
Tristan Parrish and Brace Pingetzer kept Shoshoni close in the second period, each hitting a 3-pointer, but Wind River responded each time with post moves from Weliever or creative, off-balance shots from C'Bearing. Brett and Delshai Roanhorse contributed with short-range jumpers off the glass. Wind River led 23-19 at the half.
Thoren hit a follow shot with 7:11 left in the third to close the game to two points, but Weliever quickly answered and a jumper, and 3-pointer from Delshai Roanhorse bumped the Cougar lead to eight.
The game had a large number of charging calls that negated Shoshoni baskets and put the Wranglers in foul trouble.
A Triston Parrish trey closed the margin to 34-29, but C'Bearing answered a few seconds later. The Cougars took a 37-29 lead into the final period.
A Parrish 3-pointer was waved off after officials decided it had careened off one of the supporting pipes, and he exited the game a minute later when he was called for a disputed foul on a C'Bearing 3-point attempt.
A Weliever putback with 5:21 left in the game gave Wind River their largest lead at 45-29 but Lutz answered with a follow shot, and Pingetzer hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11.
Renick drew his third offensive foul from a Shoshoni player with 3:09 left in the contest. Shoshoni went to desperation mode, but missed all but one 3-point attempt in the final minutes of the game.
Shoshoni shot just three free throws in the entire game and hit just one. Wind River was much more productive at the line, converting 15 of 21 attempts.
Shoshoni graduates Thoren and Micah Mills and will have a coaching change next season, as head coach and principal Dan Martin has accepted a position at Fort Pierre, S.D., as the school district's superintendent.
SHOSHONI 9 10 10 16 -- 45
WIND RIVER 11 12 14 22 -- 59
Shoshoni -- Tristan Parrish (2) 0-0 6, Mason Steffen (1) 0-0 3, Josh Thoren 7 (1) 0-1 17, Brace Pingetzer 1 (2) 0-1 8, Lawry Johnson 3 0-0 6, Nathaniel Lutz 1 0-0 2, Jayden Haslam 1 1-1 3. Totals 13 (6) 1-3 45.
Wind River -- Caleb C'Bearing 3 (2) 5-9 17, Brett Roanhorse 1 4-4 6, Clayton Renick 2 3-4 7, Ryan Weliever 6 1-2 13, Delshai Roanhorse 4 (2) 2-2 16. Totals 16 (4) 15-21 59.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.