Grizz top Burlington, split conference games

Two out of three isn’t bad, but three would have been nice.That’s no doubt the feeling of the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies after a strong weekend that saw them stop the second-ranked Class 1A Burlington Huskies and the Riverside Rebels at home but fall to the third-ranked 2A Greybull Buffs, the latter two conference matchups.[caption id="attachment_10884" align="alignright" width="200"]Rocky Mountain senior Cordell McFarlane drives past Greybull defender Dustin Fox during Rocky’s 65-44 conference loss Saturday night in Greybull. The Grizz host Thermopolis tonight (Thursday) at the RMHS Gym. Lisa Kunzel photo Rocky Mountain senior Cordell McFarlane drives past Greybull defender Dustin Fox during Rocky’s 65-44 conference loss Saturday night in Greybull. The Grizz host Thermopolis tonight (Thursday) at the RMHS Gym.
Lisa Kunzel photo[/caption]The Grizz defeated Burlington 59-54 Thursday and Riverside 48-34 Friday, but Greybull won the third game of the weekend Saturday, 65-44.Coach Michael Simmons said three games in one weekend are tough, and he would have preferred a different order but said the weekend was a success. A non-conference but intra-district rival was first up Thursday night at home, and while coaches concentrated on the later conference game, Simmons knew his squad would be up for the district rival.“You can’t convince kids to look past that game. It’s an intra-district game and they want to play hard,” the coach said. “You always want to play hard, but it’s difficult to play teams with three different styles, with the last two having conference implications.”Rocky traded baskets with the Huskies in the first quarter, after which Burlington led 16-13, but Rocky dominated the second period 17-4 to lead 30-20 at halftime.“We had a short week of practice and focused on Riverside and Greybull, so we told the kids we’d play the first quarter and make adjustments based on what we see,” Simmons said. “Especially with this group, they like to see a quarter before they believe we can play with someone. They came back to the huddle (at the quarter break) and said this is doable.”Defense was the key, Simmons said, as the Grizzlies got stops that led to transition baskets and also hit some three-pointers. Center Dylan Williams scored two baskets inside, and Cole Wambeke drained a pair of treys, Cole Simmons one.“It was fun basketball to watch,” Simmons said. “The things we believe are there we saw for the first time. The kids were having fun. There were more high-fives than we normally see. We had a good home crowd.”Rocky edged Burlington 10-9 in the third quarter to lead 40-29 and built the lead to 15 at one point, Simmons said, before Burlington rallied to cut the final margin to five, outscoring the Grizzlies in the final quarter 25-19. Wambeke scored 10 points in the fourth to keep the Huskies at bay, including two more baskets from beyond the arc.Simmons said his team got a little tentative in the final quarter “playing not to lose” and didn’t put the game away like the Grizz should have, but he was pleased overall, noting 19 assists on 22 made field goals.Wambeke finished with 19 points, hitting five of nine shots from downtown. Simmons added 18 points, Williams 10 and Travis Banks 8. Cordelle McFarlane didn’t score but had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.BURLINGTON (54)Nathan Carrizales 3 8-8 16, Isaac Stanworth 4 1-1 10, Dallin Davidson 1 1-2 3, Jared Peterson 5 0-0 13, Matthew Rasmussen 4 0-0 8, Dallin Christiansen 2 0-2 4. Totals 19 10-13 54.ROCKY MTN. (59)Ryker Everett 1 0-0 2, Tristan Jewell 0 0-0 0, Cole Simmons 6 5-8 18, Ben Estes 1 0-0 2, Cordell McFarlane 0 0-0 0, Lathan May 0 0-0 0, Cole Wambeke 5 4-4 19, Travis Banks 4 0-4 8, Dylan Williams 5 0-1 10. Totals 22 9-17 59.Burlington 16      4      9    25 – 54Rocky Mtn. 13    17    10    19 – 59Three-point field goals – Peterson 3, Carrizales 2, Stanworth 1; Wambeke 5, Simmons 1. Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Burlington 15, Rocky 15.Conference winThe Grizzlies played their first conference game Friday as they hosted the Riverside Rebels, though they had defeated the South Big Horn County team during the Big Horn Basin Classic in a non-conference matchup.The Rebels gave Rocky a battle, with Simmons saying they play hard and are scrappy, but he said the game was marred by fouls, with 22 called on the Grizz and 26 on Burlington.“With 48 fouls in one game, that’s more fouls than we’ve had, three times more than were called at Ethete,” Simmons said. “There was no flow to the game. It was start and stop. I credit Basin (Riverside) for doing what they needed to do to stay in the game. There were 45 free-throw attempts between the two teams, which creates a long night.”Riverside led 8-6 after the first quarter, but the Grizz outscored the Rebels 17-10 in the second quarter to lead 23-18 at halftime. Rocky shut down Riverside 11-3 in the third to lead 34-21 after three, and the two teams traded baskets in the fourth with Rocky winning 48-34.Eight players scored for Rocky led by Cole Simmons with 10. Freshman Ethan Price scored 9 points in his varsity debut, as did Williams. McFarlane and Wambeke added 6 each. Williams led the team with eight rebounds, and McFarlane grabbed five caroms.RIVERSIDE (34)Michael Wildman 0 0-0 0, Brian Vigil 5 5-8 15, Scott Anderson 0 0-0 0, Trea Spurlock 0 1-2 1, Justin Miller 0 0-0 0, Ethan Vigil 3 0-0 6, Justin Roussan 0 0-0 0, Dylan Owen 0 0-0 0, Ethan Sherburn 4 4-5 12. Totals 12 10-15 34.ROCKY MTN. (48)Ryker Everett 1 0-0 2, Tristan Jewell 0 2-4 2, Cole Simmons 3 1-2 10, Ben Estes 0 0-2 0, Cordell McFarlane 2 2-6 6, Lathan May 0 0-0 0, Cole Wambeke 1 3-4 6, Ethan Price 3 2-5 9, Travis Banks 0 4-4 4, Colby Davison 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Allred 0 0-0 0, Dylan Williams 4 1-3 9. Totals 14 15-30 48.Riverside 8    10      3    13 – 34Rocky  6    17    11    14 – 48Three-point field goals – Simmons 3, Wambeke 1, Price 1. Fouled out – Roussan, Sherburn. Total fouls – Burlington 26, Rocky 22.Road lossIt was tough sledding for the Grizzlies against third-ranked Greybull Saturday night in Greybull. Greybull led 12-10 after the first quarter, then started to pull away by outscoring Rocky 20-10 in the second quarter to lead 32-20 at halftime.“We were up 10-9 and had the ball (late in the second quarter), but we had a turnover and they hit a three at the buzzer,” Simmons said. “That was a momentum-swinger. For the first seven minutes we played great. We attacked the rim, got (Treston) Tracy in foul trouble and played great defense.“We had Travis (Banks) on  Tracy and Ben (Estes) on Jordan Jackson. We fronted them and got back-side help. It was fun to watch. If you take away the wide open looks we gave (Zack) Zeller and (Dustin) Fox, we were doing the things we needed to do. As a team it looked like everybody was on the same page early on.”Some mental lapses and missed assignments led to Greybull gaining the edge in the second quarter, and after the Grizz outscored Greybull 14-13 in the third, Greybull put the game in the refrigerator, outscoring the Grizz 20-10 in the fourth. By then, Simmons said he could sense fatigue setting in for his squad, which led to mistakes.Cole Simmons led Rocky with 14 points, and Ben Estes added 10 points, Wambeke and Williams 6 each. Banks and Simmons had four rebounds each, Banks led with five assists and Simmons had three steals.“Ben Estes had a great night,” Coach Simmons said. “Dylan helps. Ben benefits from Dylan being on the floor.”Conference gameRocky Mountain (6-6) will entertain the Thermopolis Bobcats for a key conference game tonight (Thursday) in Cowley, then travel to Dayton to face Tongue River in a non-conference tilt on Friday.“Thermop is our one conference game this week and it’s the first game, so it’s easy to focus on them,” Simmons said. “We played them in the (Classic) tournament (a 44-42 loss). It’s a short week of practice again, but we’ll put all of our energy into that game.”Thermopolis is 6-7 on the season, 0-1 in the 2A Northwest. Tongue River is 7-7 overall, 2-0 in the 2A Northeast.Tip-off times are 4 (JV) and 7 p.m. Thursday in Cowley and 4 and 7 p.m. in Dayton Friday.ROCKY MTN. (44)Ryker Everett 0 0-0 0, Tristan Jewell 0 0-1 0, Cole Simmons 5 2-7 14, Ben Estes 5 0-1 10, Cordell McFarlane 0 0-0 0, Lathan May 1 0-0 2, Cole Wambeke 0 6-7 6, Ethan Price 1 0-0 3, Travis Banks 1 1-2 3, Colby Davison 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Allred 0 0-0 0, Dylan Williams 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 9-18 44.GREYBULL (65)Dustin Fox 4 0-0 11, Gabe Keisel 1 0-0 2, Clancy Stoffers 1 1-2 3, Jordan Jackson 7 1-4 15, Cade Dooley 4 0-0 8, Zack Zeller 5 3-4 15, Dawson Forcella 3 0-0 7, Treston Tracy 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 5-10 65.Rocky   10    10    14    10 – 44Greybull 12    20    13    20 – 65Three-point field goals – Fox 3, Zeller 2, Forcella 1; Simmons 2, Price 1. Fouledout – none. Total fouls – Rocky 15,Greybull 18.

By David Peck