Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes
Editor 

Junior varsity boys hit a winning streak

 

January 11, 2018



Three games and three victories is what the JV boys basketball team took home from the Big Horn Basic Classic this weekend. Their first win came Thursday evening when they took on Lovell in an intense back-and-forth match that ended with 55-46 on the scoreboard.

Coach Ryan Shaffer noted the last time the boys played Lovell, during the East-West Classic in Douglas earlier this season, they lost 75-67 and being able to hold them to about 30 points less is something to be excited about. The coach has been speaking to the team about keeping teams to within certain point levels in order to have a chance at beating them.

The Bobcats held them to 10 fewer shots compared to the last time they met, and 13 offensive rebounds compared to 20.

Shaffer said he loves how the boys transition and just kept running the ball, grabbing quick steals and quick buckets. “We had a lot of guys just step up in that game,” he said. Though things got a bit tight in the fourth, Kolby George nailed a three-pointer to extend the Bobcats’ lead a bit.

Out of all the games, the one against Lovell was “the one they needed,” Shaffer said, having the prior loss to Lovell. He added it was George’s best game, having scored 12 points and getting to the line seven times. The team also improved on free throws, nailing 50 percent.

Scoring against Lovell were: Jarron Mortimore — 16; George — 12; Cade McLean — 8; Dustin Harvey — 7; Oran Coyne — 6; Sterling Gerber — 3; and Logan Shumway — 3.

The boys took their second win of the tournament on Friday with a 65-32 victory against Shsoshoni. Coach Shaffer said they played really solid and were smart with the ball. He noted there were too many turnovers in the third quarter and Shoshoni was able to get 13 points. It was a good opportunity, he said, to remind the boys that they had a good lead but didn’t need to start playing down their game. The team responded with outscoring 20-5 in the fourth.

“It’s one of those things where, as a coach, you hope they respond to what you say. It’s good to see it when they do.”

A big focal point in the game was Hunter Bartholomew. Though he had been playing minutes throughout the game, he definitely stepped it up in the fourth. Bartholomew, Shaffer said, hasn’t really been much of a scorer — with a previous high of 3 — but in that fourth he made 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Coyne, Shaffer said, also got out of his slump and had a great showing with 14 points.

Scoring against Shoshoni were: Coyne — 14; Shumway — 13; Logan Bartholomew — 10; McLean — 9; Mortimore — 6; Dustin Harvey — 5; George — 3; Gerber — 3; and Jesse Skelton — 2.

The final game of the tournament was a 28-19 win against Wright. Shaffer noted this was only a half-game, as Wright didn’t have enough players. He was happy to see our boys keep them under 20, which is what they wanted to do.

“We scored well,” the coach said. “We shot much better at the free throw line. We were eight for 13.” The big issue, he said, was fouls. We gave them 15 free throw attempts, and they scored eight of their 19 on free throws. “Really, they should’ve been under 10, but we kept giving them fouls and letting them to the free throw line.”

The boys had a total 12 fouls. It was a lesson learned, Shaffer said, to be smarter when it comes to defense.

Shaffer said on the varsity level they are still pushing the defensive side of things getting to where they have players who can shut down the guys they’re facing. Keeping that in mind, Shaffer pushed Harvey to turn his man at least twice before he gets to half court. Harvey caught on to a pattern against the point guard and was able to take advantage of it, grabbing the ball and putting in a layup.

Scoring against Wright were: Harvey — 9; Coyne — 4; McLean — 4; Shumway — 3; Bartholomew — 2; George — 2; Gerber — 2; and Mortimore — 2.

Shaffer’s excited to be on a streak, and it really shows that the team is willing to put in the hard work. While defense is not a glamorous part of the game, he hopes they’ve bought into the idea that it is what will win the games.

Shaffer’s curious to see how the boys step up this Friday at home against Lander, having lost to them 78-42 during the East-West Classic. He said even holding them to 50 points would give them a chance to win it. Tip off is at 3 p.m.

 

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