News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Riverton downs Natrona at state
Mar 9, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
CASPER -- Shaking off a disappointing loss Thursday, the Riverton Wolverines extended a four-point lead at the end of three quarters to bury the Casper Natrona Mustangs 63-46 in consolation play Friday at the state Class 4-A state basketball tournament in Casper.
It was Riverton's first win at a state tournament since 1995. With RHS leading 42-38 after three, Xavier Webb scored the first eight points of the quarter -- he had 11 total fourth-quarter points -- to lead Riverton to the win.
Spenser Yowell, Kade Salisbury, Kole Stewart and Michael Johnston also scored in the fourth to help put Natrona out of the tournament.
It was the second straight week Riverton had beaten Natrona. Exactly one week ago, the Wolverines downed the Mustangs 60-45 in a semifinal game of the West 4-A tournament in Riverton.
Johnston's two consecutive blocked shots and a layup with 10 seconds to play put an explanation point on Riverton's win.
Natrona's Tof Chapin led all scorers with 15.
Yowell had 14 for Riverton, and Webb added 12. Salisbury and Stewart each scored eight points.
"It was a great response for our kids today," Riverton head coach Dick Quayle said.
The Wolverines play the winner of the Casper Kelly Walsh vs. Cheyenne East game for the fifth-place trophy at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Casper Events Center.
Central 42, Riverton 37
A high school basketball game is 32 minutes long. Thursday at Casper College during the first round of the Wyoming Class 4-A basketball tournament, the Riverton Wolverines wished the game could have stopped at halftime.
After playing inspired basketball in the first two quarters and jumping out to a nine-point halftime lead, ice cold Wolverine shooting, turnovers and soft interior defense allowed Cheyenne Central to mount a strong second-half comeback to overtake Riverton 42-37.
Central advanced to the state semifinals and will play Gillette Friday night after Gillette beat Natrona 68-51. Evanston was the only team to survive first-round play from the West conference with a 55-43 win over Cheyenne East. The Red Devils will battle Sheridan, which squeaked by Casper Kelly Walsh 49-48.
"The team that I saw in the first half was not the team I was familiar with. The second half is who we are," Cheyenne Central head coach Dout Moratzka said.
Riverton head coach Dick Quayle must have thought the opposite about his team.
Wolverine junior Coley Nicholls got Riverton rolling early with the first 3-point shot of the day at the 4:15 mark in the first quarter. Central had to take a timeout. Riverton was able to keep up the pressure and forced two consecutive Central turnovers and, after a bucket from Seth Quayle and two Jordan Belville free throws, Riverton was up 11-7 after the first quarter.
Xavier Webb opened the second quarter with a 3-point shot that put Riverton up by seven. Buckets from Nicholls and Quayle put Riverton up by 11, their biggest lead of the day.
As well as Riverton played in the first half, the second half, and especially the third quarter was all Central.
The Indians mounted a 10-0 run to end the third quarter -- the game was tied at 29-29 after three -- and scored four more to start the fourth to take a 33-29 lead with 5:57 left to play.
"We gave them some easy baskets. They did a better job of handling the ball. They did some good things. We missed some shots and didn't attack where we could have. We played hard but didn't get it done," Quayle said.
The Wolverines managed to keep it close down the stretch. Webb's trey -- Riverton was just one of eight from beyond the arc in the second half -- followed by a Quayle free-throw got Riverton to within two with 37.5 seconds still on the clock.
Central gave Riverton a chance when Colton Wardell missed one of two free throws and Riverton, then Central, each called timeouts with 11.6 on the clock.
The Wolverines set two screens to free up Webb to have a good -- but long -- look from beyond where an NBA 3-point line would be on the court at the top of they key.
Webb's shot didn't fall. Spenser Yowell got the offensive rebound for Riverton and opted to turn toward the basket rather than pass the ball back outside for another chance at a 3-pointer. An official's whistle blew for traveling, and the Indians had the state win.
"I really feel like we are a better team, but they played better in the second half. Our kids played hard, and I was happy with their effort," Quayle said.
Webb led Riverton scores with 11, but as a team, the Wolverines shot just 31 percent from inside the arc and committed 18 turnovers compared to Central's 10.
Cheyenne 7 6 16 13 -- 42
Riverton 11 11 7 8 -- 37
Cheyenne (37) - Kyler Robinson 2 (1) 4-5 11, Josh Fearing 2 (1) 0-3 7, Brady Cates 0 0-0 0, Greg Ashley 1 (1) 0-0 5, Zach Lain 0 0-0 0, Deondre Davis 0 3-4 3, Colton Wardell 2 1-2 5, Alex Krysl 1 0-0 2, Mason Munford 4 1-2 9. 12 (3) 9-16 42.
Riverton (42) - Tyler Graham 0 0-0 0, Kade Salisbury 0 0-0 0, Garde Evans 0 0-0 0, Donaldo Holguin 0 0-0 0, Kole Stewart 0 0-0 0, Xavier Webb 2 (2) 1-3 11, Coley Nicholls 2 (1) 0-0 7, Jordan Belville 0 3-5 3, Seth Quayle 4 1-3 9, Spenser Yowell 2 3-4 7. Totals 10 (3) 8-15 37.
NCHS 11 12 15 8 -- 46
RHS 13 15 14 21 -- 63
Riverton (63) -- Tyler Graham 0 0-0 0, Kade Salisbury 1 (1) 3-4 8, Gard Evans 1 0-0 2, Donaldo Holguin 2 1-2 5, Kole Stewart 4 0-0 8, Xavier Webb 1 (1) 7-9 12, Coley Nichols 2 0-0 4, Jordan Belville 1 0-0 2, Seth Quayle 3 0-2 6, Spenser Yowell 6 2-5 14, Michael Johnston 1 0-0 2, Jerel Kohler 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 (3) 12-20 63.