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

By Mark Dykes

Boys fall just short in Wheatland


February 8, 2018

Dennis Nierzwicki

Bobcat Hudson Roling heads over the defense to put up a shot during a home game earlier in the season.

This past weekend saw the Hot Springs County High School Basketball team travelling to take on Wheatland and Torrington.

The boys saw a 51-48 loss against Wheatland on Friday night, and Coach, Kevin Gerber said he felt really good about how we matched up with them. One of the hardest parts, he added, was that Hudson Roling got into foul trouble early, picking up his second with just over 4:40 left in the first quarter. Roling was out the rest of the quarter, but was able to play all of the second.

However, he picked up his third and fourth with about a minute left in the third quarter. Gerber needed him in the fourth, though Roling fouled out just 40 seconds in.

"He really only played about half of the game, minutes-wise," Gerber said, so they had to change things up a bit after the initial shock of not having Roling out on the court. The coach noted Noah Schwalbe, Dustin Harvey and Sterling Gerber did a good job in bringing the ball up and keeping in the game.

It was a big game for Sean Miller, scoring 14 points and making six rebounds and two assists. Gerber said he had a lot of his confidence in his shot, which his teammates saw as well.

As a team, Thermopolis out-rebounded Wheatland 28-24, and was a bit better with regard to shooting percentages. Gerber said, "It really came down to they converted on two more two-pointers than us, and that was it. We exposed them as far as their free throw shooting." Wheatland was 5 for 21 with free throws, the coach added, and the 'Cats were able to get them to the line a few times near the end and give themselves a chance to win.

Down six with about a minute left, Gerber said the boys made some good shots, but there were a couple costly turnovers and fouls that got Wheatland to the line, where they were able to sink a couple free throws.

Going into the locker room after the game, Gerber was proud of the boys for not accepting anything less than a win. While they could've simply said "We only lost by three points," they knew it was a game they could win. "I think that shows this still matters to these guys," Gerber said. "Even though the season's been a struggle for us, I think we still are showing we're getting better each time."

Scoring against Wheatland were Schwalbe - 16, Miller - 14, Roling - 6, Gerber - 5, Harvey - 3, Jarron Mortimore - 2 and Cade Zupan - 2.

The boys matched up against Torrington on Saturday, with a 61-46 loss. Coach Gerber said Torrington is a tough team to get a read on, and have been up and down this season, so they didn't really know what to expect.

The first half wasn't great for us, Gerber said, as Torrington was able to score 40 points compared to Thermopolis' 22. The Bobcats started climbing back, however, coming within 11 points at one time, but not being able to get that lead down to the single digits. Thermopolis did outscore Torrington 16-13 in the third quarter.

The boys were able to get 66 shots up, six more than Torrington, and out-rebounded 20-12. They also made 10 of 15 free throws, but made only 12 of 50 two-point shots, many of them from inside the paint.

Gerber said the boys got a lot of great looks, "but our legs seemed like they weren't quite there which is something you risk when you go on a road trip like that, you sleep in a motel room and you have a hard-fought game the night before."

While chipping away at Torrington's lead, Gerber said it was nice to see the boys didn't let their nerves get to them and still maintained good ball control.

An emphasis for the game, he said, was for them just to play relaxed and not tense up.

Going forward, the coach will continue to emphasize going at game speed when they are a practice, so the boys get a better understanding of how they feel near the end of a game and know how to shoot the ball.

It was another good game for Schwalbe, Gerber said, scoring 19 with seven rebounds. Mortimore also played well with nine rebounds and four points, and Miller had five points and seven rebounds. The coach pointed out everyone who played got an opportunity to shoot.

Cade Zupan was ill this past weekend, Gerber noted, but it provided an opportunity to have Logan Shumway come in and play a few minutes. Shumway got a few shots off, and made three rebounds.

While there just wasn't enough time on the clock for the boys to get over that 11-point deficit, Gerber was very proud of them and the way they stepped up. Part of it, he added comes down to having discipline on the road, making sure they're taking care of themselves so they can play well on the court.

Scoring against Torrington were Schwalbe -19, Roling - 10, Gerber - 5, Miller - 5, Mortimore - 4 and Harvey - 3.

This week, the boys will see action on the road again at Worland on Thursday, and at home against Buffalo on Friday.

In going up against Worland, Gerber said it's one the team needs to "go and get," and there's a lot of emphasis for the Bobcats to give the Warriors everything they have. It's a short week for practices, so he plans to hit things fast.

The coach doesn't expect to win against Buffalo, as they're the No. 1 team, but said it's important to play against them so the boys have that experience and learn something.

Tipoff for the Worland game is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tipoff for the Buffalo matchup is Friday at 7 p.m.


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