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Riverton eighth-graders go 19-0 on hardwood

Apr 10, 2013 - From staff reports

Eight Riverton eighth-graders finished their basketball season with a 19-0 record. This spring, Riverton won tournaments in Billings, Mont., Gillette, Cody, Casper and in Arimo, Idaho. The team consists of Alec Richardson, Easton Paxton, Teron Doebele, Brady Fullerton, Niko Garcia, Andre Goodman, Kylan Shultz and Gary Medicine Cloud.

One of the goals was to win the annual Casper Youth Basketball tournament. With a first round bye, the boys played a team from Pine Bluffs, which boasts a 6-foot-7 player. His height was no match for the young Wolverines, as they ran past Pine Bluffs, 68-30.

Next up was Douglas, very athletic and potent offensively.

"We had lost to this team last year in the same position in the tournament. They beat us by one and went into the championship, so we were anxious to see them again," said Riverton coach Curt Paxton.

Riverton came out ready and played great defense to get the second win 58-34.

Riverton then beat Sky High from Ethete in the championship matchup.

"What a great ride!" Paxton said after the championship. The young Wolverines walked off the floor at Casper Kelly Walsh High School winning their 14th game in a row and holding the medals that signify No. 1.

Riverton ended its season in Arimo, Idaho, for the the Eagle's Nest tournament at Marsh Valley High School.

In pool play, Riverton beat Jordan's Pocatello 73-19, Preston, Idaho, 55-23 and Grace, Idaho, 55-23 to earn a spot in the gold bracket.

In the semifinal game, the boys faced their toughest test of the season,m playing a very athletic team from Pocatello. Riverton built a lead as large as 14, but with seven minutes remaining in regulation found themselves down 44-41. Fighting to keep their undefeated season alive, they battled to overtime and prevailed 57-52.

The championship game was a little ragged. Playing their fifth game in 20 hours, Riverton outlasted the Pocatello Indians 42-41.

Coach Paxton said the boys have shown their character on the court through hard work, decisive defense, quiet confidence, strength and team play.

"I couldn't be prouder of this team. They have spent countless hours in the gym. Some of that time was not so much fun, but in the end, they were rewarded."

"It's funny," Paxton says. "I feel like this is the end, because it is the last time that I will get to sit on the bench with these young men. Truth is though, this is only the beginning. I can only hope that they continue to play with the same heart and dedication we have seen through the past five years."

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