Buffs clinch Northwest's No. 3 seed

Nathan Oster

The Greybull Buffs held off Shoshoni 64-59 Friday to sew up the Northwest Conference's third seed for this weekend's Class 2A West Regional. They'll face Big Piney in an opening-round matchup today (Thursday, Feb. 23) in Riverton.

Greybull finished the regular season at 10-9 overall, 2-4 in conference play.

Both league wins came at Shoshoni's expense, although the second came harder than the first.

"Shoshoni's a tough place to play with good atmosphere, so to get a win down there always feels pretty good," said Coach Logan Burningham.  "And we needed it. Going into the tournament, you definitely want a little momentum."

The Buffs led at every quarter stop, although Shoshoni certainly made it interesting.

"The key for us was our offense," said Burningham. "We executed so well. We didn't have many possessions that didn't end in a good shot. We ended up shooting 54% from the field, which is what you want. 

"Our kids never got frustrated or quit at any point when Shoshoni made its runs.  They shot 94% in the third quarter.  Never seen a team do that before.  But we kept our composure and actually managed to increase our lead (in the third)."

Coby Henderson led the Buffs with 22, followed by Cade Cooper and Cale Wright with 15 apiece. 

A Thursday night nonconference matchup with Burlington preceded the Shoshoni game.

The Huskies beat the Buffs by one point at the Big Horn Basin Hoops Classic in early January and were even more impressive in the rematch, leading at every quarter stop en route to a 69-64 victory.

"I had people ask me, 'What happened in Burlington?'  I told them, they're the No. 2 team in 1A and very solid," said Burningham.

The Buffs had their chances, but Burningham said it boiled down to "a couple missed shots here and there, rebounds we didn't get, 50/50 balls that could have gone our way but didn't."

Henderson led the Buffs with 24, including four 3-pointers, followed by Carlos Rodriguez with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.  

The Buffs shot 44% from the field — good enough to win most nights, just not on the home floor of the Huskies.  After finishing 20-2 overall, the Huskies are one of the favorites for the 1A title and could be on a collision course with unbeaten and top-ranked Saratoga later this week in Lander.

"They're 15 points better at home than they are away from Burlington — it's a tough place to play and opposing teams rarely win there," said Burningham. "We knew it would be tough.  But it was good competition for us."



Wide open.  That's probably the best way to describe this year's 2A West Regional. There isn't a clear-cut favorite.  None of the eight teams won more than 11 games in the regular season.  In fact, seven won eight times or more — St. Stephens, at 3-13, was the exception.

"Going in, I think we're all nearly the same caliber of teams, so it's likely to come down to whoever shoots best and plays the best," said Burnigham.  "I've said all seedings don't matter as much this year. It's all about who is clicking at the right time."

The Buffs open with a Big Piney team that went 9-11 on the year, but 4-2 in conference play to earn the Southwest's No. 2 seed.  The game will be played at 1:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 23) in the Riverton Middle School gym.

On Friday, the Buffs will face Wind River or Kemmerer.  A win over Big Piney would send the Buffs to the 4:30 p.m. semifinal game, a loss to the loser-out game at 10 a.m.  Win or lose, the game will be at the high school. 

The Buffs and the Punchers met at the Foothills Classic in December, with Greybull winning 62-45 in one of its most complete performances of the season.

"Big Piney is playing a lot better now than they were then," said Burningham.

Looking ahead to Friday, Burningham said the Buffs know they can play with Wind River, losing twice by a total of four points.  The key in a potential third matchup would be "controlling the pace -- we don't want to play the up-and-down, chaotic style with them," he said.

Kemmerer is led by Jake Kampman, 2A's leading scorer. "He's the base of their team and everything revolves around him," said Burningham. "They've got good height and like to throw it inside."

To be successful in any game, the Buffs need all seven of their core players to perform at their potential.

Burningham said the easiest path to Casper is with an opening-round win over Big Piney.  A loss would require them to win their next two to reach their goal.

"We got to taste (the state tournament) two years ago, so not making it last year was heartbreaking," he said. "These seniors and juniors, I hope they come out with unlimited motivation, determined to do whatever it takes to get to the job done and with a we-won't-be-stopped mentality."


Burlington   13 17 18 21 — 69

Greybull     10 16 16 22 — 64

GREYBULL — Coby Henderson 9-21 2-3 24, Juan Acuna 0-1 0-0 0, Aiden Reece 5-10 0-0 11, Cade Cooper 2-5 0-0 4, Cale Wright 3-8 0-1 7, Carlos Rodriguez 5-12 4-6 14, Beto Diaz-Rios 2-2 0-0 4.  Totals 26-of-59 (FGs) 6-of-10 (FTs) 64.

3-POINT GOALS — Henderson 4, Wright, Reece.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 30 (Rodriguez 9).  STEALS — Greybull 6 (Rodriguez, Reece 2).  ASSISTS — Greybull 14 (Wright 6).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 11. 

Shoshoni     10 15 27 17 — 69

Greybull     22   9 29 14 — 74

GREYBULL — Coby Henderson 7-10 3-4 22, Aiden Reece 3-7 0-0 8, Cade Cooper 7-11 1-1 15, Cale Wright 6-16 2-3 15, Carlos Rodriguez 4-8 2-2 10, Beto Diaz-Rios 2-2 0-0 4.  Totals 29-of-54 (FGs) 8-of-10 (FTs) 74.

3-POINT GOALS — Henderson 5, Reece 2, Wright.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 35 (Rodriguez 8).  STEALS — Greybull 8 (Henderson 3).  ASSISTS — Greybull 14 (Henderson, Wright, Rodriguez 4).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 9.