Riverton falls to the vengeful Plainsmen on the first day

CASPER – The basketball season has officially reached its final stretch as the 3A and 4A Wyoming State Basketball Tournaments kicked off Thursday with the Riverton Wolverines as the only team from Fremont County competing. Riverton High School (RHS) entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the West after falling to Star Valley in the 4A Regional Championship game last week. That made them slight favorites over their first opponent: the Laramie Plainsmen, a team RHS beat by 25 earlier this season.

Despite this, Laramie opened up with all the momentum and dropped RHS in the hole early. A couple of 3-point attempts and a couple of free throw attempts allowed Laramie to take a 16-7 lead midway through the first quarter. But after a small scoring run that included tough shots from both Parker Paxton and Darrick DeVries, the Wolverines cut the lead to 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Riverton quickly got into the game with a crazy 360 layup from DeVries, but the Plainsmen blew away any chance the Wolverines had to take their first lead after tying the game at 16-16. They would score nine more points by the end of the second quarter to build a 35-20 lead.

The Wolverines would get back to within 10 points midway through the third quarter, but with less than two minutes left, Riverton’s leading scorer and momentum-creating machine, DeVries, was called for his third foul on the block. The lead was cut in half late in the period as Laramie entered the final quarter up seven, 46-39, with all the energy on Riverton’s side of the ball thanks to some stellar calls from head coach Beau Sheets.

Right off the bat, DeVries scored his 19th point of the game to start the fourth and pull within five points. But Laramie would answer with a three-pointer, which Paxton would then immediately respond from beyond the arc.

With less than three minutes left, DeVries would foul out and send one of Laramie’s best players to the foul line, where he sank both to give the Plainsmen a six-point lead with 2:48 left. A missed 3-pointer by RHS and a quick foul by Sheets sent another strong free-throw shooter to the line, where he drained both shots on net to give Laramie an eight-point lead.

Without DeVries on the court, the lead expanded to ten points and RHS looked for anyone who could come up and score quickly, but it was too late as fouls were needed for Coach Sheets and his team to even remember the idea of ​​winning. .

DeVries fouled out with nineteen points, tying Paxton for the most points in a game by a Wolverine, as only five other players scored and none more than five points. RHS’s 34.8% shooting percentage just wasn’t enough against Laramie’s Neil Summers, who finished with a double-double (22 points, 18 rebounds).

Riverton’s loss marked the third loss in three games from the 4A West, this one especially stinging because the Wolverines were favored to get out of the first round with a win.

The Wolverines then looked to the third-place game as their best finish of the season. The next day, they find themselves face to face with Cody to stay alive one more day.

For more on this story, including pictures, quotes and other statistics, be sure to pick up a copy of the Ranger and/or Lander Journal this weekend. Start or continue your subscription today at 421 E. Main Street in Riverton.

BY: Shawn O’Brate

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