WORLAND – Pinedale’s young varsity lineup faced an uphill battle at the Worland Winter Classic Boys’ Basketball Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8-9.
The tournament pitted the Wranglers against Campbell County High School’s junior varsity squad. Campbell County is a perennial state and regional championship in boys’ basketball in the 4A division – a school more than three times the size of Pinedale High School.
On Saturday, the Wranglers played Big Piney, an opponent stacked with experienced juniors and seniors.
Despite the odds, the Pinedale boys refused to give in and battled through each quarter, managing to get in a few punches against larger opponents.
Pinedale fell to Campbell County JV, 79-31, and Big Piney, 75-28.
“We had a tough weekend in Worland against two solid teams,” said head coach Marcus Helland. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well in either game, but I was pleased with the effort. We are still learning our system of how to play defense, rotate and rebound, but we are getting better. We are moving and sharing the ball much better on offense, which indicates our team chemistry is improving.”
Campbell County JV
The Camels launched a lethal offensive in the first quarter, setting up a significant lead. Junior Gaige Zook and freshman Bridger Kaiser scored Pinedale’s first points. Sophomore Michael Hosler swept in with a 2-pointer, drew a foul, and added a free throw.
The Wranglers found their footing in the second quarter and shot in 16 points to 19 from Campbell County. Freshman Joshua Gosar led the team in scoring, demonstrating his accuracy at the charity stripe with seven free throws in the second quarter. Junior Tim Hosler, sophomore Colby Bailey and freshman Jayce Ramage all added points to the scorebook.
Zook and junior Jackson Harber kept the Wranglers on the scoreboard during a bruising third quarter and Kaiser, Zook, Gosar and Michael Hosler scored in the fourth.
Gosar scored 11 points against Campbell County. Zook and Michael Hosler both added four points to the tally. Bailey shot in three points and Kaiser, Tim Hosler, Ramage and Harber each rounded the scorebook out with two points.
Big Piney dominated the first quarter, although Zook, Bailey and Michael Hosler forced turnovers with steals. Bailey followed up with a pair of 2-pointers. Big Piney continued to pummel away in the second quarter.
Pinedale scored 10 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Gosar tossed in a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter. Michael Hosler, Tim Hosler and Zook fought offensively to keep Pinedale in the game. Freshman Owen McMillen scored a deep 3-pointer in the final minutes.
Gosar shot in another 11 points against Big Piney. Michael Hosler tossed in six points, Bailey four and McMillen three. Tim Hosler and Zook both contributed two points.
“We are improving every day in practice, so I am excited to see how we continue to grow individually and as a team,” Coach Helland said about moving forward.