Puncher boys stay undefeated in conference
Joan Mitchell photo
WYOMING – A nailbiter against 2A Conference rival Wind River ended in a 58-56 Puncher win in a match that went into double overtime on Feb. 12. Big Piney remains the undefeated, top seed in the 2A Southwest Conference following Friday’s narrow victory.
The Big Piney defense formed an unbreakable barrier during the second overtime, keeping its opponents out of the paint for over three minutes.
Wind River finally edged in with under a minute left, but missed a shot. The Cougars grabbed a rebound from Big Piney and headed back to their side of the court. Defensive pressure by senior Liam Hughes forced Wind River to turn over the ball to the Punchers with 20 seconds remaining on the clock.
Senior Edwin Gonzalez took the ball and made the game-winning shot.
On Feb. 9, the boys hit the court and played another possession-by-possession game against 3A opponent Lyman that came down to the wire. The Eagles managed a buzzer-beating 2-pointer to seal the deal by a point, 56-55.
The Eagles turned up the volume in the first quarter, outscoring the Punchers, 14-3.
Battling back in the second quarter, the Punchers scored 18 points and held Lyman to 12. Junior Ethan Whiterock shot in a pair of 3-pointers to edge Big Piney up on the scoreboard.
Halftime found the Eagles ahead by a few possessions, 26-21.
Big Piney continued to close the gap in the third quarter. Whiterock shot in a pair of 2-pointers, caught a foul on both, and made two free throws. The third quarter ended with Lyman ahead, 36-35.
Keeping the heat on in the final quarter, the Punchers pushed ahead. Senior Carlos Munoz tossed in a deep 3-pointer to widen Big Piney’s lead. Junior Seth Stoutenburg followed up with a 2-pointer.
Whiterock pushed the Punchers ahead with a basket from outside the perimeter. Gonzalez picked up two free throws. Whiterock scored another seven points before the Eagles managed to reply with a point run to regain the lead.
Whiterock finished the game with a season high of 31 points. Carlos Munoz shot in nine points, Gonzalez seven, Stoutenburg five and sophomore Jovany Munoz three.
The Cougars won the first quarter, 17-15. Carlos Munoz and Jovany Munoz both shot in 3-pointers in the second quarter, followed by a 2-pointer by Hughes, to tie the match at halftime, 25-25.
Wind River answered back with 18 points in the third quarter to 12 from Big Piney.
Pulling out all the stops in the final quarter, Big Piney climbed out of the hole to tie the match when the final buzzer sounded, 53-53.
Entering overtime, the Punchers pulled ahead with a 3-pointer tossed in by Gonzalez. Wind River followed up with a 3-pointer. Big Piney defense put the brakes on Wind River’s next attempt to invade the paint for over one minute.
The match was at a draw, 56-56, when the buzzer sounded. The Big Piney pulled ahead in a second overtime to take home the conference win.
Carlos Munoz led in scoring, shooting in 20 points. Gonzalez scored 12 points, Whiterock nine, Jovany Munoz eight, Hughes six and Stoutenburg three.