Puncher boys’ basketball knock out St. Stephens

Robert Galbreath photo Senior Jovany Munoz sinks a layup against Kemmerer on Jan. 13. Munoz netted 21 points against Wyoming Indian High School on Jan. 21.

Fall to Wyoming Indian High School by single point

WYOMING – An exciting weekend of conference action for the Big Piney High School Puncher boys’ basketball team commenced with a decisive 90-78 conference victory against St. Stephens at an away game on Friday, Jan. 20.

Hitting the road again on Saturday, Jan. 21, the Punchers arrived in Ethete for a second conference game against Wyoming Indian High School (WIHS) that came down to the wire.

Big Piney established a significant 31-20 lead at halftime. The Punchers remained ahead by 10 points, 44-34, at the close of the third quarter.

Wyoming Indian High School managed to tie the game at 53 points with 3 minutes remaining in regulation.

A point-for-point battle ensued. WIHS scored 2 points from the charity stripe as the final minute counted down. Big Piney came up short in responding offensively before the buzzer sounded and WIHS scored the win, 58-57.

Overall, the Punchers played a “decent weekend of basketball,” said Head Coach Nate Strong.

“We left feeling like we have some things we know we need to improve upon, but we also did several things really well,” he added. “Not only did we handle pressure well – we attacked and scored against their pressure. We played with confidence and looseness that only happens once you understand a system. Our team defense was good, but could be better. Our poise and taking ownership for self and team can improve. Nothing beats a kid that owns his mistakes and fixes it immediately. We played hard, had a good attitude and will continue to focus on these aspects. I’m proud of the team.”

Wyoming Indian High School

Big Piney left it all on the court in the first quarter, outscoring its opponent, 21-10. Junior Reuben Stoutenburg snatched a steal on WIHS’s first possession. Senior Jovany Munoz opened scoring with a free throw.

Stoutenburg netted a pair of layups. Sophomore Cael Espenscheid rustled a steal. Munoz converted an and-1 and tossed in a close-range shot.

Stoutenburg made a basket from the charity stripe. Munoz again converted an and-1. Sophomore Bill Hibbert scored two free throws. Fellow sophomore Kelby Staley tossed in a jumper. Sophomore Cole Walton sunk a deep outside shot.

Both teams scored 10 points in a closely contested second quarter. Munoz netted three layups. Hibbert broke through the perimeter to score. Munoz beat the buzzer with a jumper.

Big Piney led, 31-20, at halftime.

WIHS scored 14 points to 13 from Big Piney in a tight third quarter. Sophomore Ashton Bennett sunk a close-range shot and free throw. Stoutenburg netted a pair of jumpers and tossed in four free throws. Munoz capped the quarter off with 2 points from the charity stripe.

Big Piney remained ahead for the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter. Stoutenburg scored a layup, converted an and-1 and netted two free throws and a jumper.

WIHS managed to close the gap, tying the game, 53-53, with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left in regulation.

Stoutenburg broke the stalemate with a layup. WIHS scored a 3-pointer and two free throws to take the lead, 58-55. Munoz netted an inside shot, closing the gap to a single point.

The Punchers came up short in the final minute of the quarter and WIHS secured the win.

Stoutenburg led in scoring against Wyoming Indian High School with 24 points. Munoz netted 21 points, Hibbert 4, Walton and Bennett each 3 and Staley 2.

The Jan. 26 game against Farson was rescheduled for Jan. 31.

The Punchers host Rich County, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 27. Game times are 4 p.m. for junior varsity, 5:30 p.m. for girls’ varsity and 7 p.m. for boys’ varsity.

Big Piney hits the road to play Shoshoni on Saturday, Jan. 28.