LYMAN – The Wrangler boys’ basketball season came to an end in the winner-takes-all first round of the 3A Southwest Quadrant Regionals hosted by Lyman on March 4. Pinedale’s squad showed significant improvement from its regular-season closer against Mountain View on Feb. 27 and gave the Buffalos a run for their money in the second half. Mountain View managed to hold onto the lead it established in the first period to take the win, 64-41, and advance in the 3A West Regional Tournament.
“We saw great improvement once again from our team after three days of practice between both Mountain View games,” said head coach Marcus Helland. “I’m proud of how hard our kids played and we stuck together as a team through the game.”
Mountain View dominated the first half, outscoring Pinedale, 20-6. Freshman Josh Gosar put Pinedale on the scoreboard with a pair of 2-pointers. Sophomore Colby Bailey added a basket from inside the paint.
Pinedale’s defense stepped up the intensity in the second quarter, slowing Mountain View’s momentum to 10 points. Freshman Owen McMillen caught a steal and broke away to land a layup. Gosar and Michael Hosler grabbed rebounds, setting Gosar up for a 2-pointer.
The Wrangler offense found its second wind in the third quarter, outscoring Mountain View, 14-13. Freshman Bridger Kaiser set the momentum with a 3-pointer. McMillen rebounded the ball for Bailey to score a 2-pointer. Bailey snatched an offensive rebound and followed it up with a 2-pointer.
Junior Gaige Zook launched a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter. Junior Jackson Harber rounded the tally out with a free throw.
Mountain View took back the initiative offensively in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points to 15 by Pinedale. Gosar opened the quarter with a four-point play, catching a foul on a 3-pointer. Freshman Jayce Ramage and Bailey forced turnovers by catching rebounds. Gosar grabbed a steal and made a 2-pointer. Zook seized the ball, broke away and dropped in a layup. Ramage forced a turnover and Kaiser tossed in a pair of free throws. Gosar rounded out the tally with a 3-pointer.
Gosar finished the match with 21 points with Bailey and Kaiser both scoring six. Zook scored five points, McMillen two and Harber one.
“Basketball is a long season and it’s even longer when you don’t see success in terms of wins and losses, but I believe we were successful as a team,” said coach Helland. “Each individual player grew tremendously in their own skill set. We stuck together as a team and understand where each player needs to improve. The coaching staff is excited for this summer and next winter when we have a year of experience and skill building under our belt.”