Strong start for Chiefs dooms SHS WranglersJan 12, 2018 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Last week in Basin, the Wyoming Indian Chiefs had a rugged weekend at the Big Horn Shootout, losing two of three games.
Certainly not the kind of results head coach Craig Ferris and his club aren't used to.
So, on Thursday at Wrangler Gym, the Chiefs didn't have to travel far for redemption, making the short trip from Ethete to Wranglerville for a comprehensive 60-24 win over Shoshoni.
In fact, Wyoming Indian wasted no time whatsoever, in beginning the contest on a 26-0 run before the home side dented the net at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter.
According to Ferris, the game provided his charges with a proper bounceback from the weekend.
"Our starters did a good job of keeping the tempo of the game at our pace," said Ferris. "We knew Shoshoni wanted to slow things down."
No worries in that regard, as the Chiefs ran up and down the floor on offense while applying their trademark stifling full-court pressure on defense, scoring the first 26 points of the evening in the process.
Senior Latrell Ferris banked the first bucket of the game to open the visitors' account and the floodgates opened from there.
Lane Hill, Jerry McGill and Jeffrey Lock added baskets, which forced Wranglers head coach Brady Slack to call a time-out only 2:40 into the game.
Ferris went on to lead the Chiefs with 12 points on the game, while Hill added 11 and Brandon Redman came off the bench late to hit a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help provide the final margin of victory.
Ferris said his team had a good week of practice following the lost weekend in Basin, but that wasn't necessarily an ease of his mind.
"Sometimes, when we have a good week of proactive, I get a little nervous because the players might tend to get a bit lazy," said Ferris. "What I like was we had that kind of focus to keep the pressure on the entire game."
After leading 22-0 after the first quarter, the score ballooned to 33-6 at the break.
In the second half, it was much more of the same, as Ferris was able to empty his bench, with his entire contingent of 15 players seeing action.
Despite a balanced effort for his entire roster, Ferris singled out a pair of his players for exemplary efforts on the evening.
"Maurice Gardner came off the bench and gave us a real spark defensively," he said. "Also, Latrell Ferris set the tone for our guys with intensity, effort and focus."
As for Slack, all the Wranglers bench boss could do in the aftermath was glean what few positives he could find in the small silver lining of a large black cloud.
"Our players are beginning to believe in themselves a little more," he said. "We have to be confident in how we play regardless of the score."
Speaking of which, the occasion marked the first time this season while facing top-notch opposition, the Wranglers haven't been subjected to the 40-point mercy rule.
"I don't think it's necessarily difficult for us to keep pushing forward," said Slack. "Even when we were down 30, our guys were still out there giving it all they had."
An example of the never-say-die mentality the Wranglers have adopted, junior guard Wade Cornell, who led the Wranglers with 11 points, continued to drive to the rack with authority all game long, despite giving up height and weight to his bulkier opponents under the basket, pouring in a pair of late buckets, then hitting the floor on defense to quell a Chiefs possession.
For Slack, it's all about getting his club to buy into the big picture as they build themselves back to respectability, he said.
"We need our players to believe in the program and what we're trying to build," said Slack. "Not just this season."
Shoshoni (0-10) will next host another Class 2-A Fremont County rival in Wind River on Friday at 7 p.m.
Wyoming Indian (11-3) will host Rocky Mountain on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Wyoming Indian 22 11 12 15 -- 60
Shoshoni 0 6 5 13 -- 24
Wyoming Indian - Gardner 0 (1) 0-0 3, Washington 0 0-0 0, McGill 1 0-0 2, L. Hill 4 3-4 11, A. Hill 1 0-0 2, Haukass 1 1-2 3, Lock 3 0-0 6, Bell 1 0-0 2, Moon 1 2-4 4, Viera 0 (1) 0-0 3, Brown 1 0-0 2, Ferris 5 2-2 12, Redman 0 (3) 0-0 9, Underwood 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 (5) 8-12 60.
Shoshoni - Konija 2 0-2 4, Cornell 4 3-5 11, Jennings 0 0-0 0, Fike 2 1-3 5, Lajuenesse 3 0-0 6, Griffin 0 0-0 0, Juan-Pedro 0 0-0 0, Lucas 0 0-0 0, Gonzalez 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 4-10 24.