Mar 11, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterCASPER -- The Cheyenne East Thunderbirds, four players short because of team discipline, shot their way to the fifth-place trophy and a 61-48 victory over the Riverton Wolverines Saturday at the Wyoming Class 4-A basketball tournament at the Casper Events Center.
The Wolverines finish the year with 20 wins and their first state tournament appearance since 2004.
"Do they shoot the ball well, or what?" Riverton head coach Dick Quayle asked after the game.
Yes. At least on Saturday.
"We shoot well, but not very regularly," Cheyenne East head coach Zane Jacobsen said.
East nailed nine shots from beyond the 3-point line compared to Riverton's four. Overall, East shot 48 percent from inside the arc and 39 percent from beyond. By contrast, Riverton shot just 25 percent from behind the 3-point line (4-16) and 38 percent overall (19-50).
The Wolverines fell behind early and never led Saturday. After being down by 10 midway through the second quarter, Riverton tried to get its running game in gear. Xavier Webb, Seth Quayle and Kole Stewart completed a mini 6-0 run, and Riverton was down by just four at halftime with a bit of momentum. But Riverton's shooting woes were costly, especially in the first half, when the Wolverines were 0-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"They shot well, and we didn't. We hadn't played against a zone in six or seven games, and we did not attack the zone well," Quayle said.
Up by five with 3:00 to play in the third quarter, Thunderbird Quinton Pope, who averages 3 points per game, hit three straight treys and two free throws. By the end of the the third, East was up by 10.
The Wolverines finally shot a bit better in the last quarter. Webb, Donaldo Holguin and Coley Nicholls all found their 3-point range, but East always answered and did not turn over the basketball.
Riverton ended the game with 19 turnovers compared to East's seven.
Thunderbird Cameron Jaure led all scorers with 15. Webb hit double digits for Riverton with 10.
"Our kids had their hearts set on being in the championship. But (losing players because of team discipline) inspired a lot of people," Jacobsen said.
Riverton had high expectations coming into the tournament also but dropped their first round game to Cheyenne Central 42-37 Thursday after leading comfortably in the third quarter.
Riverton did bounce back to eliminate Casper Natrona 63-46 Friday to make it to Saturday's trophy game.
Cheyenne Central beat Sheridan Saturday 43-41 to place third in the tournament and Gillette battled Class 4-A West Conference Champion Evanston for the state title Saturday night at the Events Center.
"It was hard for our kids. You don't come to this tournament to place third or fifth," Quayle said.
Seniors Gard Evans, Donaldo Holguin, Kole Stewart, Jerel Kohler and Spenser Yowell all played their final game for Riverton.
Chey. East 15 8 20 18 -- 61
Riverton 9 10 14 15 -- 48
Cheyenne East (61) -- Cameron Jaure 3 (1) 6-7 15, Cameron Johnson 1 (3) 3-5 11, Austin Hastings 1 0-0 2, Trevon Hinker 1 (2) 1-3 9, Ryan Cook0 0-0 0, Brandon Wolfe 4 0-0 8, Joe Ash 0 (1) 0-0 3, Quinton Pope 1 (3) 2-3 13. Totals 11 (9) 12-18 61.
Riverton (48) -- Tyler Graham 1 0-0 2, Kade Salisbury 1 (1) 1-3 6, Gard Evans 0 0-0 0, Donaldo Holguin 0 (1) 0-0 3, Kole Stewart 2 0-0 4, Xavier Webb 1 (2) 2-2 10, Coley Nicholls 1 0-0 2, Jerel Kohler 0 0-2 0, Jordan Belville 2 2-3 6, Seth Quayle 3 0-0 6, Spenser Yowell 4 1-1 9. Totals 15 (4) 6-11 48.
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