SUBLETTE COUNTY – An action packed week ended in two more wins for the Punchers.
Big Piney played a tight battle against Kemmerer on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that came down to Puncher accuracy at the free-throw line in the final quarter.
Thursday featured the cross-county rivalry against Pinedale. The Punchers set an early lead and dominated the third quarter, though Pinedale put up a strong opposition. Big Piney took home the county trophy and the win, 67-58.
“It was good to win both games for sure,” said head coach Nate Strong. “I think we left both contests with clarity on some of our strengths and weaknesses. In a nutshell in both games when we played hard and kept things simple, we showed how good we can be. But at times when we were not as engaged and played with the ball too much it was evident we need to improve. It was fun to see the boys execute some of the little quick hitters we installed versus Pinedale and step into some positions unfamiliar to them.”
The Punchers pulled ahead in the first quarter, outscoring the Rangers, 16-12. Ethan Whiterock set the pace with two 3-pointers and a 2-pointer. Seth Stoutenburg added a pair of 2-pointers.
Kemmerer edged up in the second quarter, dropping in 14 points to 13 from Big Piney. The scoreboard remained close at halftime in the Punchers’ favor, 29-26.
The third quarter was neck-and-neck. Carlos Munoz swept in with a 2-pointer to put Big Piney ahead, 41-36, going into the final quarter.
Kemmerer shifted into high gear and launched a 7-point run in the fourth to snatch the lead, 43-41. Munoz tied the game up with a 2-pointer. Kemmerer inched up with a free throw.
Stoutenburg drew a foul and shot in a pair of free throws to put Big Piney ahead by a point. Kemmerer answered back with a 3-pointer to retake the lead.
Edwin Gonzalez popped in a 2-pointer. Kemmerer tied the match up again with less than three minutes remaining.
The Rangers took over with a 2-pointer. Gonzalez pulled off a deep 3-pointer and the Punchers edged ahead. Kemmerer made a last-ditch attempt to regain the lead, but got too physical and placed the Punchers on the charity stripe.
Gonzalez and Liam Hughes shot in a pair of free throws, followed by one each from Munoz and Whiterock.
Gonzalez scored 14 points against the Rangers. Whiterock tossed in 11 points and Munoz added 10. Stoutenburg tallied eight points, while Kaden Raza contributed six. Hughes scored four points, Koy Walton three and Jaspur Brower two.
Big Piney hit the court running in the first quarter, outscoring the Wranglers, 18-10. Raza stepped up with a pair of 2-pointers and three free throws. Walton shot in a deep 3-pointer.
Scoring in the second quarter was closer with Big Piney shooting in 19 points to 17 from Pinedale. The halftime score stood at 37-27 in Big Piney’s favor.
The Punchers pulled out all the stops in the third quarter, dropping in 20 points to eight from the Wranglers. Gonzalez set the pace with four 2-pointers and a pair of free throws.
Pinedale answered back in the final quarter with a run of 3-pointers to outscore Big Piney, 23-10.
The Punchers finished the match with a nice point spread, including three players in the double digits. Raza scored 18 points, Gonzalez tossed in 17 and Munoz added 14.
Whiterock shot in eight points, Walton six and Hughes and Stoutenburg each contributed two.