Riverton boys in Douglas, girls in Lander for weekendDec 14, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher
After playing last weekend at the Casper Invitational, the Riverton High School boys and girls basketball teams are splitting up this week.
The Wolverine boys take the court at the Douglas, while the Lady Wolverines make the short trip to Lander for three games at the Lander Classic.
Both teams are continuing an odd early season schedule with no home games on the calendar until February. Lander's tournament is easily the closest either team will play before their still-distant home openers.
Coach Beau Sheets leads the RHS boys into their first Class 3-A opposition of the year. The defending 3-A state champion Wolverines played all three games last week against 4-A opponents, losing a competitive game to 4-A defending champ Kelly Walsh, routing Jackson by 29 points, then falling by a bucket in a hair-splitter to Evanston.
This week's contests favor RIverton on paper. The Douglas boys (7:30 p.m. Friday), a 3-A state semifinalist last season, as gutted by graduation and comes into its own tournament 0-5, including a 10-point loss last week to Lander.
Wheatland (10 a.m. Saturday) has a 3-2 mark against small competition. The Bulldogs socred just 23 points Tuesday in a home loss to Gering, Nebraska.
RHS coach Beau Sheets said Thermopolis (1 p.m. Saturday) is improved from last year, but he thinks his team matches up well against the nearby Bobcats.
After one week of basketball, RHS claims both the leading scorer and top rebounder in the 3-A West division. Junior guard Treyton Paxton averages 18 points a game through three games, while 6-5 senior Ridge McCoy gets an average of 10-plus caroms per game.
Coach Travis McIntosh's girls are scoring at a much higher volume than last year and threatened twice last week to end a two-year losing streak, leading both Kelly Walsh and Jackson in the second half before giving up the lead.
Scoring output has been mixed for Riverton, with senior guard Leighanna Shoulderblade having a big game in the season opener vs. Kelly Walsh, and in-the-paint towers Jordan Lewis and Naya Shime picking it up against Jackson and Evanston.
Sophomore guard Madi Pantle had a consistent tournament in Casper. The Lady Wolverines boast good depth in the backcourt.
Thermopolis is Riverton's first opponent at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Lady Bobcats posted two wins in three games last week, including a 47-23 thrashing of Glenrock on the road. Thermopolis beat Wright 48-44 and lost to Big Horn 49-44.
The top-ranked Douglas girls look the part so far. The Lady Bearcats haven't been challenged in five games, downing their opponents by an average of nearly 29 points per game, including a 67-47 win over Lander to start the year. Douglas whipped Pinedale 71-20 on Dec. 9.
On paper, Torrington could provide the best shot for a Riverton victory. The Lady Blazer have played just once so far, losing by 15 points to Chadron, Nebraska.