BIG PINEY – The Punchers dominated their first conference game, taking down Wind River, 77-54. Following a closely fought first quarter, Big Piney pulled ahead in the second and third quarters to maintain the lead into the final quarter.
“The boys played really well,” said head coach Nate Strong. “I thought we had a lot of ownership in practice this week, and it showed during the game. All the boys contributed to our success and it was great to see their energy and excitement after the game and how hard they played. I think if we can continue to stay focused, work hard and be excited about the game, this group has a chance to be great.”
Senior Liam Hughes put the Punchers on the scoreboard with a 2-pointer in the opening seconds. Fellow senior Carlos Munoz swept in with a 2-pointer, followed by a pair of 3-pointers by senior Edwin Gonzalez.
Wind River managed to catch up and overtake the Punchers. Hughes shot in a 2-pointer and drew a foul for an extra point to put Big Piney ahead. Wind River answered back to take the lead.
Senior Kaden Raza made a three-point play following a foul on a 2-pointer to put Big Piney ahead by two points. Another 3-pointer from Gonzalez sealed Big Piney’s lead. Carlos Munoz finished out the quarter with a backhand layup.
Big Piney led at the end of the first quarter, 23-20.
The Punchers surged ahead in the second quarter, outscoring Wind River, 23-13. Hughes once again opened the action with a 2-pointer. Junior Seth Stoutenburg entered the game and made a 2-pointer.
Stoutenburg pulled off a steal, putting Gonzalez in a position to score two more points. Raza caught several rebounds before shooting in a 2-pointer. The senior followed that play with a 2-pointer and free throw. Munoz led the remainder of the second quarter, tossing in seven points while Gonzalez added four points to the scorebook.
At halftime, Big Piney was ahead, 46-33.
Sealing the deal in the third quarter, the Punchers scored 18 points and held Wind River to 11. Junior Ethan Whiterock shot in 3-pointers with deadeye accuracy, making three shots from outside the perimeter.
Gonzalez made a 2-pointer and drew a foul for an extra point. Raza shot in a pair of 2-pointers and sophomore Jovany Munoz hit the court for a 2-pointer.
The Punchers pulled ahead by over 20 points going into the final quarter, 64-42.
Wind River slowed the Punchers’ momentum in the third quarter. Big Piney outscored the Cougars by only one point, 13-12. Gonzalez, Raza and junior Koy Walton kept the Punchers on the scoreboard until the final buzzer sounded.
Four Punchers scored double digits against Wind River. Gonzalez led in the scorebook, making an impressive showing at 25 points. Raza tossed in 18 points, with Carlos Munoz adding 11 and Whiterock scoring 10.
Hughes dropped in seven points while Stoutenburg, Jovany Munoz and Walton each completed the tally with two points.