The Wranglers scored
a major victory against the second-highest
ranked 3A team in the state on Friday, Feb.
8. Pinedale was not intimidated by Lander’s
status and knocked their opponent right off the
pedestal with an 11-point win, 72-61.
Head Coach Eric Oram was proud of the
team’s triumph on Friday.
“This was the biggest win of the season for
our team against a top-ranked 3A town who
played good basketball,” he said. “For us to get
a win on the road is huge. We shot the heck out
of the ball and were deadly from the free throw
line, making 29 of 34 shots at 85 percent. The
kids were aggressive and got inside. The game
plan was to attack Lander, and the guys played
with a lot of intensity. We took care of the ball
pretty well in a fast-paced game with only 15
turnovers and we outrebounded Lander on defense.”
The varsity squad upped its performance
during the game, he added.
“Danny Gosar played a heck of a game and
made us really strong, scoring 28 points with
nine rebounds. Blake Illoway found a way to
score from the free-throw line, making 11 of
14 free throws and a 3-pointer. Tyler Van Etten
played consistent with 10 points and seven rebounds.
But the spark for that game came from
(Josef) McCulloch. He came off the bench for
19 minutes and brought toughness to the team
with nine points and four rebounds.”
The Wranglers dominated the first quarter,
dropping in 20 points while Lander only managed
12. Gosar set the rhythm with 10 points,
including three 2-point field goals, a 3-pointer
and a free throw. Van Etten and junior Cole
Redmond each scored four points, with Illoway
rounding out the count with two free
Lander answered back in the second quarter,
outshooting their opponents by 10 points,
22-12. Illoway led the team in scoring with
four points. Redmond and Gosar each made
a 2-pointer and free throw, while Van Etten
popped in a 2-pointer.
By halftime, Lander had closed the gap and
edged ahead by two points, 34-32. The lead in
the third quarter switched back and forth for
the first four minutes.
McCulloch swept in with two 2-point field
goals and a free throw to break the tie. Gosar
shot in a 3-pointer with only a few seconds
left, widening the gap and adding his point
total to eight for the quarter.
The Wranglers packed a punch in the final
quarter, scoring 24 points to 18 for Lander.
Illoway and Gosar both dropped in seven
points. McCulloch and junior Kolten Hansen
each made four of four attempted free throws.
Van Etten contributed a 2-pointer to the team’s
Redmond ended the game with a total of
seven points and two rebounds. Hansen shot
in four points and played two steals and two
This weekend, the Wranglers travel to
Mountain View for an away game on Friday,
Feb. 15. On Saturday, Pinedale hosts Lyman in
the Wrangler Gym with junior varsity scheduled
to hit the court at 12:30 p.m.
Coach Oram said the team is looking forward
to the challenge of playing other top 3A
teams this weekend in the buildup to regionals.
“Mountain View beat us and it was one we
should have won,” he said. “We have unfinished
business with them and the guys are hungry
to go down and steal a win. They’re both
good teams, and we can’t overlook that to pull
off a win. These are games that will dictate our
standing going into regionals.”