Buffs notch first conference win

Nathan Oster

Nonconference matchups with Big Horn and Tongue River were casualties of the weather, but the Greybull Buffs got the one they had to have, beating Shoshoni 50-43 Friday night at Buff Gym for their first Northwest Conference victory of the season.

The Buffs had lost to Rocky Mountain and Wind River the previous week, so it was as close to a must-win as you'll see in late January.

"It set us up for a chance to steal a conference title and a top seed — if we can sweep the second half of conference games and depending how Rocky Mountain and Wind River come out in their second matchup," said Coach Logan Burningham. 

The Grizzlies beat the Cougars, 47-45, last week.   At 3-0, they lead the conference at the turn.

The win over Shoshoni moved the Buffs to 1-2.

"We had two good stretches, and in between, a bad third quarter that almost cost us," said Burningham.

His team came out hot, outscoring Shoshoni 15-4 in the first quarter.

"Our activity level on defense was good and we were running our offense the way we want it run — inside and out," said Burningham.

At the half, Greybull led 32-18.

But the Wranglers rallied, outscoring the Buffs 15-4 in the third.

"A lot of it was, we just couldn't hit a shot," said Burningham.  "Shoshoni fed off it, hit some 3s of its own and it sort of snowballed on us."

The Buffs had to dig deep to pull it out.  Burningham said he made an adjustment to his team's zone offense, inserting Aiden Reece, "more of a shooter/scorer," into the spot at the top of the lane. The senior responded with several field goals down the stretch.

"Reece loves that 15-foot jump shot and that little floater off the dribble," said Burningham.

The Buffs outscored Shoshoni 14-10 in the final eight minutes to notch the seven-point win.

Junior guard Coby Henderson led the Buffs with 16, followed by Reece with 10.


This week

The Buffs will take an 8-6 record into their matchup with Riverside Thursday night at Buff Gym. The longtime conference rivals play in different classifications this year. Due to low numbers, Riverside is a 1A school this year that plays in a conference with Burlington, Ten Sleep, Dubois and Meeteetse. Thursday night's game starts at 7 p.m.

Burningham said he expects leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Rodriguez to rejoin the lineup against Riverside.  He's been out the last couple of weeks due to a concussion.

"Anytime you play Riverside, you know it's going to be a good, tough game," said Burningham. "They've got some kids on that team who can catch fire and shoot it well from the outside.  We need to make sure we're getting out to their shooters and finding the guys who can hurt us."

"We should have a size advantage, so we need to make sure we utilize it."

After this week, just four regular season games remain for the Buffs, including second matchups with the three conference opponents plus a showdown with Burlington.

As of Monday, no makeup dates had been announced for the Big Horn and Tongue River games that were lost due to last week's storms.  The Rams and the Eagles are among the top-ranked teams in 2A, along with Pine Bluffs.


Shoshoni      7 11 15 10 — 43

Greybull       18 14 4 14 — 50

GREYBULL — Ethan Goton 2-7 0-1 4, Coby Henderson 5-18 2-3 16, Juan Acuna 1-1 0-0 3, Aiden Reece 5-13 0-0 10, Cade Cooper 2-5 2-2 6, Cale Wright 3-8 0-3 7, Beto Diaz-Rios 2-4 0-2 4.  Totals 20-of-56 4-of-11 50.

3-POINT GOALS — Henderson 4, Acuna, Wright.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 41 (Goton, Reece 8).  STEALS — Greybull 5 (Reece 2).  ASSISTS — Greybull 11 (Reece 4).  TURNOVERS — Greybull 9.