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Tigers win two of three at Big Horn

Jan 7, 2018 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor

Saying Antonio Coando was on fire this weekend for the Lander Valley Tigers at the Big Horn Shootout in Basin is like saying Southern California recently suffered a few brush fires.

Big-time understatement.

Coando poured in 27 points in the Tigers' opener in a 70-59 defeat to Class 2-A Rocky Mountain on Friday, but the Lander guard was just getting started.

In Friday's second game, Coando blasted the Glenrock defense for 32 points in an 84-42 over the Herders, then followed that up with another 20 in a 60-50 win against Greybull on Saturday.

Three games, 79 points.

The result was a 2-1 weekend for head coach Stuart Mullins' club, who upped its record to 4-5 on the young season.

Against Glenrock, Coando came out guns blazing, scoring 12 points in the opening quarter, as the Tigers took a dominant 30-7 advantage, a lead they never looked back from.

At the half, it was 46-17, as Coando had already posted 14 at the break.

In the second half, he really came alive, scoring nine points in the third period, then another eight in the fourth, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line.

According to Mullins, Coando -- still only a junior -- has learned to use the entire floor, as well as his teammates, much better.

"Antonio's really started to understand how to use our offense," said Mullins. "He's using ball screens effectively, doing a good job of attacking the basket and using his teammates to score."

But, that's not all the praise the Lander bench boss had for his slick-shooting guard.

"In my opinion, he's one of the best players in the state," he said. "He's not just a perimeter player, he's great going to the basket and is a wonderful passer."

Lander 60, Greybull 50

On Saturday, the Tigers faced their third Class 2-A opponent of the weekend in the Buffs of Greybull, a perennial power in the Class 2-A Northwest and emerged with a hard-fought 60-50 victory.

Once again, it was Coando who led the charge, with 20 points, while Mason Cronk added 11 and Trayshon Spoonhunter 10.

Lander led 16-9 after one and 37-21 at the break and Ty Massey helped put the game on ice, going 4-for-5 at the line in the fourth quarter.

Mullins believed the game could've been over sooner.

"We had the potential to put them away early," he said. "But, we were a half-step slower today."

However, Mullins was encouraged by how his squad was able to cobble a victory without its best stuff.

"It was good to see them win when we weren't at out best," he said. "I think we took a big step forward as a team this week."

Rocky Mountain 70,

Lander 59

In Friday's opener, Rocky Mountain proved to be too much for the Tigers to handle in a 70-59 loss to the Grizzlies. In particular, Rocky Mountain's Colby Davison, who hit a four 3-pointers in the opening quarter on the way to a team-high 24 points.

"Rocky has five or six really solid kids," said Mullins. "They hit seven threes in the first quarter and really delivered a haymaker, but we closed to only eight points at halftime and thought we had a chance to beat these guys."

Indeed, after falling behind 29-15 after one, the Tigers closed to within striking distance at the break.

But, despite Coando's 27 points on the game, including 15 in the second half, Lander fell short.

"It was really the best basketball we played all weekend," said Mullins. "We were down by 22 only to cut it to eight in the fourth."

Still, a winning weekend up north was definitely encouraging to Mullins as he and his charges move forward, he said.

"We got junior guard Max Mazurie back from injury this week and he made a huge difference with the fluidity of our offense," said Mullins. "Also, Mason Cronk and Niieihii Black had another solid weekend, both offensively and defensively."

Lander (4-5) will next head back up through the Wind River Canyon to face Thermopolis on Friday.

Lander - 16 21 13 10 -- 59

Rocky Mountain - 29 12 21 7 -- 70

Lander - Cronk 4 2-3 11, Mazurie 1 0-0 2, Spoonhunter 5 0-0 10, Swenson 0 1-2 1, Coando 5 (3) 2-2 20, Black 2 1-2 5, Massey 2 5-7 9, Renner 0 0-0 0, O'Neal 0 2-3 2. Totals 19 (3) 12-18 59.

Rocky Mountain - Price 0 (3) 0-0 9, Jewell 4 (3) 1-2 18, May 4 0-0 8, Winland 2 0-0 4, Davison 3 (6) 0-1 24, Allred 2 3-4 7. Totals 15 (12) 4-7 70.

Lander 30 16 19 21 -- 84

Glenrock 7 10 19 6 -- 42

Lander - 2 2-3 4, Mazurie 3 (1) 0-0 9, Spoonhunter 0 (2) 0-0 6, Swenson 2 2-2 6, Coando 8 (3) 7-8 32, Black 5 0-0 10, Massey 2 0-0 4, Renner 4 1-2 9, O'Neal 2 0-0 4. Totals 28 (6) 12-13 84.

Glenrock - Jones 2 (1) 0-0 7, Grose 0 0-0 0, Young 1 0-0 2, Steinmetz 1 0-0 2, McDonald 0 0-3 0, Bopp 0 (6) 0-0 18, Kuhlman 5 (1) 0-4 13. Totals 9 (2) 0-7 48.

Lander 15 15 15 15 -- 60

Greybull 9 12 17 12 -- 50

Lander - Cronk 0 0-0 0, Mazurie 2 (1) 0-0 7, Spoonhunter 1 (1) 2-2 7, Swenson 3 0-0 6, Coando 7 (4) 1-2 27, O'Neal 1 0-0 2, Black 3 2-4 8, Renner 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 (6) 5-6 60.

Greybull - Mills 4 0-1 8, B. Hill 7 1-2 15, Adams 1 0-0 2, Gomez 1 0-0 2, Kraft 1 0-0 2, Tracy 0 (3) 0-0 9. Totals 14 (3) 1-3 50.

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