Grizzlies sweep three to take conference lead 

Call it a successful weekend for the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies. No, an extremely successful weekend.

The Grizzlies concluded non-conference play Thursday, then opened 2A Northwest conference play Friday and Saturday, sweeping Burlington, Riverside and Greybull to improve to 12-2 on the season.

Despite losing senior Lathan May to injury early in the fourth quarter, the Grizz held on to stop the top-ranked (1A) Burlington Huskies 53-50 in Cowley Thursday, then opened conference play by crushing Riverside 63-14 at home Friday and beating Greybull 61-40 on the road Saturday.

The wins set up a showdown against the rival Lovell Bulldogs at home in Cowley this Friday night.

As expected, the toughest game of the weekend trio involved the 1A opponent – intra-district rival Burlington. The Grizz had defeated the Huskies 68-59 on Dec. 21 in Burlington and made it a sweep with the win Thursday.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game, an opportunity to play another number one-ranked team,” Rocky coach Pat Winland said. “It was a good win for our kids. I believe it’s the first time we’ve swept Burlington in, well, many, many years.”

Rocky Mountain senior Lathan May goes airborne as he powers to the rim during the Grizzlies’ 53-50 win over Burlington.
Patti Carpenter photo

Burlington led in the first quarter before the Grizz rallied to lead 15-12 at the quarter break, Winland said. Ethan Price scored 6 points in the quarter for the home team, Colby Davison 5.

A 6-0 run to start the second quarter put Burlington up 18-15, but the Grizz launched a 15-4 run to lead 30-22 before going on to lead at intermission, 33-28. Tristan Jewell poured in 8 points in the quarter, May 6.

Both teams tightened their defense in the second half, Winland said. Rocky outscored Burlington 11-7 in the third quarter to lead 44-35, but Burlington wouldn’t go away and when trailing 53-47 in the final seconds cut the lead to three on a three-pointer by Torey Wardell. Burlington then stole the in-bounds pass and kicked the ball outside for another trey, but the shot missed, much to the collective relief of the home crowd.

More than the game itself, the talk after the win was the health of May, who twisted his knee attempting to “fly out” on a three-point attempt early in the fourth quarter. May was on crutches over the next day or two but was improving by Monday, Winland said, adding that coaches were awaiting the results of a Monday doctor’s appointment.

Jewell finished with 17 points to lead the Grizz, and Price added 13 points, May 12, Taylor Winland 6 and Davison 5. Though he didn’t score Jonathan Allred grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. Davison snared eight rebounds.

Rocky outrebounded Burlington 38-28.

BURLINGTON (50)
Torey Wardell 5 6-7 18, Jacob Cook 2 0-0 5, Dallin Davidson 4 2-3 10, Tallon Wiles 2 0-0 4, Dontae Garza 5 2-4 12, Derec Davidson 0 1-2 1, Tanner Jones 0 0-0 0, Jarom Davidson 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 11-16 50.
ROCKY MTN. (53)
Ethan Price 3 6-9 13, Scott Banks 0 0-0 0, Tristan Jewell 6 4-5 17, Lathan May 5 2-2 12, Taylor Winland 1 4-4 6, Colby Davison 2 0-2 5, Jonathan Allred 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 16-22 53.
Burlington 12    16      7    15 – 50
Rocky Mtn. 15    18    11      9 – 53
Three-point field goals – Wardell 2, Cook 1; Price 1, Jewell 1, Davison 1. Fouled out – Wiles. Total fouls – Burlington 25, Rocky 16.

Blowout win

Having survived the battle with Burlington, the Grizzlies cruised past conference foe Riverside Friday night in Cowley, 63-14.

Rocky actually trailed 2-0, Winland noted, but then outscored the Rebels 18-0 the rest of the first quarter and extended the run to 21-0 early in the second, going on to lead 34-10 at halftime.

“It was a game where we knew we would likely come out ahead, so we wanted to come out healthy  and get our younger kids some playing time,” Winland said.

With May on crutches, Scott Banks started for the Grizz and all 11 healthy varsity players contributed. Rocky outscored Riverside 19-1 in the third quarter to lead 53-11 and finished off the game with a 10-3 fourth-quarter advantage. The Grizzlies did not allow a basket – just four free throws – in the entire second half.

Jonathan Allred finished with 16 points in 19 minutes of play to lead the Grizz, hitting seven of nine shots from the field. He also had three steals and three blocked shots. Freshman Jayden Hocker added 13 points on five-of-seven shooting, Price 11 points, Davison 8 points and five rebounds, freshman Taylor Winland 7 points and 10 rebounds. Jewell led the team with five assists.

Rocky shot 53.8 percent from the field to Riverside’s 11.4 percent.

RIVERSIDE (14)
Hayden Duncan 0 0-1 0, Torin Tigner 0 0-0 0, Ryan Vigil 0 0-0 0, Justen Miller 1 4-7 6, Sterling Foss 0 0-0 0, Payton Brown 0 1-2 1, Jordan Mautz 1 1-2 3, Calvin Williamson 2 0-0 4. Totals 4 6-12 14.
ROCKY (63)
Ethan Price 2 5-6 11, Scott Banks 0 0-0 0, Zach Simmons 0 2-3 2, Tristan Jewell 1 0-2 2, Jess Wambeke 1 2-4 4, Taylor Winland 2 3-4 7, Tyler Banks 0 0-0 0, Caden Welling 0 0-0 0, Jayden Hocker 5 1-4 13, Colby Davison 3 2-2 8, Jonathan Allred 7 2-2 16. Totals 21 17-27 63.
Riverside   2       8       1      3 – 14
Rocky Mtn. 18    16    19    10 – 63
Three-point field goals – Price 2, Hocker 2. Fouled out – Duncan. Total fouls – Riverside 20, Rocky 13.

Win at Greybull

Traveling to Greybull Saturday afternoon, the Grizzlies powered past the Greybull Buffs 61-40 in their second conference contest.

Winland said the game was tied 4-4 early, but the Grizz finished the first quarter with a 15-2 run to lead 19-6 after one. Allred scored 7 points in the quarter, Winland and Price 4 each.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Grizz outscored the home team 12-4 to lead 31-10 at halftime. Jewell scored 6 in the quarter.

“Johnny and Taylor got some easy baskets inside, and Tristan got to the hoop, too,” Winland said. “We did a decent job with free throws (7-9). We played a tough man-to-man and made them miss shots and were able to limit them to one shot per possession.”

Each team scored 20 points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth as Rocky went on to win by 21 points.

“We relaxed a little bit, and a credit to them, they were hitting shots they were missing in the first half,” Winland said. “Ethan had a great (third) quarter (12 points) and was able to hit some threes to keep pace (with Greybull).”

Price finished with 20 points, and Allred added 12 points, Jewell 10. Jewell added five rebounds, eight assists and three steals, Taylor Winland five boards and four assists and Allred 10 rebounds. Rocky held Greybull to 25.5 percent shooting from the field.

Big game Friday

The Grizz host the Lovell Bulldogs Friday in what could be a dynamite contest as the two local foes resume their rivalry. Now 7-4 after a win at Greybull Friday night, the Bulldogs were ranked fourth in last week’s Wyopreps.com poll. Rocky was fifth.

“The key is keeping them out of the paint and matching their intensity,” Winland said. “I’ve been really impressed with how Craig (Lundberg) has got them playing hard all of the time. They get after it.

“For us to win, we’ll obviously have to limit our turnovers and keep up with them on the boards.”

Tip-off times are 4 (JV) and 7 p.m. in Cowley.

ROCKY (61)
Ethan Price 5 8-9 20, Scott Banks 0 0-0 0, Tristan Jewell 4 2-4 10, Jess Wambeke 1 0-0 2, Taylor Winland 4 0-0 8, Jayden Hocker 1 0-0 2, Colby Davison 3 1-2 7, Jonathan Allred 5 2-3 12. Totals 23 13-18 61.
GREYBULL (40)
Brock Hill 0 2-2 2, Miguel Gomez 5 2-2 15, Riley Hill 2 3-4 7, Elian Davila 0 1-2 1, Ben Kraft 3 0-0 9, Braeden Tracy 2 0-0 6. Totals 12 8-10 40.
Rocky Mtn. 19    12    20    10 – 61
Greybull   6       4    20    10 – 40
Three-point field goals – Price 2; Gomez 3, Kraft 3, Tracy 2. Fouled out – R. Hill. Total fouls – Rocky seven, Greybull 15.

By David Peck