Two number ones in two days. That was the challenge facing the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies last week as they traveled to top-ranked intra-district Class 1A foe Burlington Thursday, then hosted 2A number one ranked Wind River Friday afternoon.
The result? The Grizz stopped both “power” opponents, beating Burlington 68-59 and Wind River by a whopping 23 points, 83-60, to improve to 6-0 on the young season.
Burlington has always been a tough place to play for the Grizzlies, but they were more than up to the task this time, running the floor and scoring both inside and outside.
“We were prepared for them to play us both man-to-man and in a 1-3-1 (zone),” coach Pat Winland said. “It ended up being a man defense most of the game. We got out on the break for a few easy scores. Johnny (Allred) and Colby (Davison) got off to a good start with post moves and working together down low, with passes from Tristan (Jewell).
“Ethan (Price) was able to hit some timely threes in the second and third quarters, and Tristan was able to get to the basket for his scores.”
Indeed, Davison scored 7 points and Allred 6 in the first quarter as the third-ranked Grizz took a 19-12 lead. Both teams scored 12 points in the second quarter, leaving Rocky up 31-24 at halftime, and Rocky edged Burlington 17-14 in the third to lead 48-38 as Price knocked down two treys in the second and two more in the third. Burlington edged Rocky 21-20 in the fourth but couldn’t dent the deficit as the Grizzlies hit nine of 13 foul shots in the quarter, five of six by Jewell.
“Something we’ve been trying to focus on is getting to the line more,” Winland noted. “I think we have pretty good free throw shooters.”
Defensively, Winland was pleased to see his team limit Burlington leading scorer Dontae Garza to just two baskets and 8 points.
“We played man to man on Dontae and rotated Lathan (May), Tristan and Ethan,” he said. “The Davidson kid (Dallin, 19 points) is such a hard worker. We knew he’d get his points.
“Any time you can go to Burlington and get a win, it’s a good thing. I was proud of the kids for not overlooking Burlington to the next night.”
Price led four Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points, hitting five of seven shots from beyond the arc. Jewell added 15 points and eight assists, Davison 14 points and eight rebounds, Allred 11 points and nine rebounds. Taylor Winland grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
The Grizz shot 47 percent from the field to Burlington’s 38 percent and out-rebounded the Huskies 36-26. The one negative for the Grizzlies, Winland said, was 23 turnovers.
Ethan Price 5 4-4 19, Scott Banks 1 0-0 2, Tristan Jewell 4 7-8 15, Jess Wambeke 0 0-0 0, Lathan May 3 0-2 6, Taylor Winland 0 1-2 1, Colby Davison 5 3-3 14, Jonathan Allred 5 1-3 11. Totals 23 16-22 68.
Torey Wardell 4 3-4 13, Jacob Cook 3 1-2 8, Dallin Davidson 6 7-11 19, Tallon Wiles 3 0-0 8, Dontae Garza 2 4-4 8, Tanner Jones 0 2-2 2, Jarom Davidson 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 18-25 59.
Rocky Mtn. 19 12 17 20 – 68
Burlington 12 12 14 21 – 59
Three-point field goals – Price 5, Davison 1; Wardell 2, Wiles 2, Cook 1. Fouled out – Allred; Garza. Total fouls – Rocky 19, Burlington 19.
Big win Friday
The Wind River Cougars roared into Cowley with a 6-1 record and left rather shell-shocked as the Grizzlies took an early lead and poured it on.
Ethan Price drove to the basket for two off the opening tap, and Colby Davison followed with a three-pointer to give Rocky an early lead. Jayin Trumbull and Ben Hoopengarner scored for Wind River to make it 5-4, but the Grizzlies took off on a 10-0 run to lead 15-4 as Lathan May hit two free throws, a reverse layup drive and a fast break following a Jonathan Allred block, Tristan Jewell scored on a fast break and Taylor Winland hit a follow bank shot. Rocky went on to lead 21-12 after the first quarter.
“We told the kids before the game that we want to keep it rolling, that we want to fast break and pound it inside, which, in turn, helps our outside game,” Winland said. “All three phases of the game were evident, in the first half, especially: the fast break, the inside and the outside.”
The Grizzlies poured it on in the second quarter, outscoring the visitors from Fremont County 27-14 and at one point taking off on a 15-2 run. Price scored 10 points in the quarter on two treys and four free throws, May 6, Davison 5, Allred 4 and Taylor Winland 2.
“The second quarter was probably the best we’ve looked all year,” Winland said. “We had five guys score in that quarter: Taylor, Johnny and Colby inside, Lathan on the break and Ethan with the corner threes.”
Wind River outscored Rocky 14-13 in the third quarter, but the Grizz had the edge in the fourth, 22-20, as they coasted to their sixth win.
Davison finished with 23 points to lead the Grizz on 9-of-16 shooting, and he grabbed six rebounds.
“I thought Colby had his best weekend as a Grizz,” Winland said.
Price added 17 points and eight rebounds, May 14 points and six assists, Allred 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Jewell finished with 8 points, Taylor Winland 5 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Rocky shot 53.4 percent from the field to Wind River’s 40.6 percent, hitting six of 14 three-pointers while Wind River hit just three of 18. Rocky outrebounded Wind River 44-29.
Trumbull led Wind River with 27 points but was the only Cougar in double figures.
“We knew Trumbull would get his points,” Winland said. “Our focus was on him not making his teammates into weapons. In the past he’s been real good at doing that. At a team camp this summer he picked us apart. We put Lathan on him and told him to do his best to keep him in front and not let him get second shots on rebounds.
“It’s a credit to the kids. They put in the work this summer…We told the kids the 24-hour rule is in effect as far as being proud of how we played. This can’t be the highlight of our season. We have a target on our back and we’re going to get everybody’s best. We’ll stress in practice this week talking about the careless turnovers we’re having and trying to stay healthy.”
The Grizz are off this weekend for the holiday break and will return to action Jan. 5-6 at the Big Horn Basin Classic in Worland, opening up against Lander Friday at 2 p.m.
WIND RIVER (60)
Morgan Miller 3 0-0 6, Ashley Addison 3 0-3 7, Jayin Trumbull 11 5-10 27, Dillan Cachelin 1 0-2 2, Dalton Finley 1 0-0 2, Jarren Guina 1 0-0 3, Ben Hoopengarner 3 0-1 6, Jackson Clair 0 1-2 1, McCaden Anderson 3 0-1 6. Totals 26 6-19 60.
ROCKY MTN. (83)
Ethan Price 5 5-6 17, Scott Banks 1 0-0 2, Zach Simmons 0 0-0 0, Tristan Jewell 3 2-3 8, Jess Wambeke 0 0-2 0, Lathan May 5 4-4 14, Taylor Winland 2 1-2 5, Dominic Estes 0 0-0 0, Jayden Hocker 0 0-0 0, Colby Davison 9 1-3 23, Jonathan Allred 6 2-2 14. Totals 31 15-22 83.
Wind River 12 14 14 20 – 60
Rocky Mtn. 21 27 13 22 – 83
Three-point field goals – Addison 1, Guina 1; Davison 4, Price 2. Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Wind River 20, Rocky 18.
By David Peck