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RHS boys, girls head southwest

Feb 2, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine Staff Writer

It seems like a long, long time ago that the Tonkin Activities Center gym at the old Riverton High School was used for basketball by the RHS boys or girls basketball teams. It's also been a long time since Chuck Taylors were the cool sneaks to wear on a basketball court.

On Wednesday night, the Riverton Lady Wolverines practiced in the gym that was used by Wolverine teams from the 1950s through 1980 (a few home games have been played there since then).

The old RHS gym was also the home court for the Lady Wolverines' current coach Ron Porter years (and years) ago when he played for Riverton.

The TAC, as it is now known, is the usual home of the Riverton High School wrestling team, but was put into basketball use because of preparations for the state's largest wrestling tournament, the Ron Thon Memorial, this weekend in Wolverine Gym.

So the displaced Lady Wolverines, and their coach Porter, wearing his old Chuck Taylors, prepared for their upcoming games on the road against Green River Friday night and Saturday.

"We took them on a tour. We talked about how we flooded the locker room and made it a slip and slide. I cringe that (former RHS basketball coach) Bill Strannigan might get word of this. We would take the mini tramp up and work on our dunks," Porter said.

All kidding aside, the Lady Wolverines and the boys basketball teams are both coming off a forgettable weekend of basketball that saw both Casper Natrona and Kelly Walsh sweep both Riverton teams.

Boys rebound

"We've tried to work on handling pressure better and scoring around the basket. It's not something that will happen over one week, but if we continue to get after it, I hope that we'll see some real improvement in those areas," head coach Dick Quayle said.

The Wolverines (12-4, 1-2 4-A West) were ranked high in state standings prior to last week, but fell hard from the top five. Green River (6-8, 1-2 4-A West) has the second fewest wins in the conference while Evanston (14-2, 3-0) has the most. Losing the high ranking and not playing to their capability has been tough on the Wolverines, who started the season with 12 wins in 14 games.

"That's the one thing they are going to have to recover from. You have to realize that as soon as the game is over, you can't dwell on it. You have to learn from it and work on the things that will improve your performance in the next game, and get after that," Quayle said.

Girls hope to improve

"We continue to plug along. We've had kids sick all year. I've never seen anything like it," Porter said.

The Lady Wolverines hope that Bree Olson, recovering from a concussion, can begin to work back into the lineup.

Only Riverton (1-16, 0-3 4-A West) and Cheyenne South have fewer wins than Green River (4-10, 1-2 4-A West), while Evanston (7-10, 2-1 4-A West) is the third-ranked team in the conference

"Green River has struggled too. Evanston will be very patient and fundamentally sound. They are a team that will not beat themselves. That is what we are hoping to do -- eliminate those unforced errors. A lot of times it's what we do or don't do instead of what the opponent does that hurts us," Porter said.

The Lady Wolverines will have one more day to work out in the old Riverton gym before returning to Wolverine Gym next week.

"We described to them what the environment was like. The band was right behind the visitors bench. It's what a gymnasium was all about," Porter said.

Porter said that it will become more important to generate more offense from all of his players and that his team cannot rely only on leading scorer Hannah Svilar (9.7 points per game), who will be doubled-teamed often.

"You would be crazy not to double-team her. We have to have others who can score, even just four or five points," Porter said.

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