Wranglers face state's cornerstones at Flaming Gorge Classic


SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Pinedale Wrangler boys’ basketball team found itself battling significantly larger 4A teams at the three-day Flaming Gorge Classic hosted by Rock Springs and Green River.

The action opened with the Wranglers battling the Laramie Plainsmen on Thursday, Dec. 16. Taking the initiative early in the first quarter, the Plainsmen dominated the next two quarters to score the win, 65-30.

Pinedale fell to Cheyenne South on Friday morning, 81-53.

A high point at the tournament was the game against the Mustangs from Manila, Utah. Following a tied first quarter, Pinedale edged ahead in the second quarter and led by four points at the end of the third quarter.

The game remained up for grabs until Manila went on an eight-point run to take the win, 62-60.

The tournament ended with the Wranglers falling to Natrona County, 59-39.

Laramie

The Plainsmen hit the ground running in the first quarter, outscoring the Wranglers, 17-5. Laramie maintained the initiative into the second quarter, scoring 21 points and holding Pinedale to 7.

The Plainsmen dominated the third quarter, shooting in 14 points to five from Pinedale. The Wranglers matched the Plainsmen in scoring in the final quarter with both teams scoring 13 points.

Sophomore Josh Gosar scored 11 points, sophomore Bridger Kaiser had eight, sophomore Owen McMillen seven, with junior Michael Hosler and sophomore Jayce Ramage both finished with two points.

Cheyenne South

Cheyenne South controlled a physical first quarter, doubling Pinedale in scoring, 26-13.

The Wranglers rallied in the second quarter, stepping up their defensive pressure to hold Cheyenne South to eight points while the Pinedale offense scored six.

The halftime score stood at 34-19 in Cheyenne South’s favor.

Widening the gap in the third quarter, Cheyenne South outscored Pinedale, 25-15. Pinedale’s offense played a tighter game in the final quarter, nearly matching its opponent in scoring with 19 points to 22 from Cheyenne South.

Kaiser led the team in scoring with 13 points. McMillen sunk 11 points, while Michael Hosler and Gosar both shot six. Junior Colby Bailey and Ramage scored five points each. Junior Luke Gray and sophomore Brody Hamby rounded out the tally with four and three points, respectively.

Manila

The Wranglers took the initiative early in the first quarter, leading by seven points following baskets by Kaiser, Gosar and McMillen. The Mustangs caught up by the end of the quarter to tie the score, 17-17.

Pinedale pulled ahead by eight points midway into the second quarter. Ramage made a layup, followed by an outside shot from Kaiser. Bailey scored a jumper.

Ramage and Kaiser forced a turnover with heavy defensive pressure, setting McMillen up to convert an and-1 on the other end after drawing a foul.

Manila edged up, tying the score at 28 points. A 3-pointer by McMillen placed Pinedale back the lead, 31-30, when the halftime buzzer sounded.

The Wranglers widened the gap in the third quarter with baskets by McMillen, Michael Hosler, Gosar, Ramage and senior Tim Hosler.

McMillen, Bailey and Gosar took advantage of the charity stripe to maintain Pinedale’s edge in the fourth quarter. Michael Hosler sunk a 3-pointer and Kaiser scored a layup, putting the Wranglers ahead by four points.

Manila took possession and went on an 8-0 run to overtake Pinedale. Despite a final close-range shot from Kaiser, Manila won the game by a single possession.

McMillen finished the game with 20 points. Kaiser tossed in 14 points, followed by seven apiece from Gosar and Bailey. Ramage and Michael Hosler both scored five points with Tim Hosler rounding the scorebook out with two.

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