Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors split games during Big Horn Basin Shootout

Matchup against Powell at noon at Worland High School


January 6, 2018


Warrior Rylan Mocko strips the ball from a Rocky Mountain player during Worland's 62-59 loss to the Grizzlies at Worland High School Friday night.

WORLAND - If the Worland High School boys basketball team showed one thing during their first pair of games in close to a month, it's that they are fast learners.

Before the Christmas break the Warriors were still getting a feel for their defensive press and traps. In their first games of 2018 against the Glenrock Herders and 2A's No.1-ranked Rocky Mountain Grizzlies, they showed a great amount of improvement as part of the Big Horn Basin Shootout tournament.

Both games the Warriors were flying all over the court causing chaos and creating turnovers. In their 64-47 win over the Herders, after a disappointing defensive effort in the first quarter they ratcheted up the pressure to blitz their way to victory.

"We only had four deflections during the first quarter and that was a big part of what went wrong in the first quarter, our lack of activity on defense," said WHS boys basketball coach Aaron Abel.

A fast pace and chaos creating defense will be the name of the game for the undersized Warriors and as they become more comfortable with their schemes that will only increase.

"We put 14 guys on the bench and ended up playing all 14. We're going to try and use our depth and athleticism. We've got to be a little bit sounder defensively, especially location shooters, we gave up far too many uncontested shots. We have to be better about coming out of our press and getting into our half-court defense. There were come good moments defensively," said Abel.

Added Abel, "The fact that we were able to create turnovers and convert on the other end, that was something we were struggling with before. When we do create those turnovers we have to turn them into points, otherwise it's just wasted energy. I thought we did a better job of that."

The Warriors did fall to the Grizzlies 62-59 in what turned out to be the best game of the day for the Worland bracket of the Big Horn Basin Shootout.

Worland jumped out to a 24-15 lead in the first quarter thanks in part to their defense and hot shooting from beyond the arc. But the senior-laden Grizzlies used their size and patience to whittle away at the Warriors lead, eventually taking the advantage at the end of the third quarter at 47-46.

The rest of the fourth quarter was a dogfight as the lead switched back and forth. With less than a minute remaining the Warriors had a 59-58 advantage but a combined three missed free throws were ultimately their undoing as Rocky was able to end the game on a 4-0 spurt to win it 62-59.

Today the Warriors play the Powell Panthers at noon at Worland High School.

Full results of the Big Horn Basin Shootout for Ten Sleep, Thermopolis and Worland will be in Tuesday's edition of the Northern Wyoming Daily News.


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