WYOMING – The Puncher boys’ basketball team played an action-packed week featuring three games against 4A, 3A and 2A competitors.
On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Big Piney defeated 4A Jackson in front of the home crowd, 66-61. Taking on old 3A archrival Mountain View at home on Friday, the Punchers fell after a bruising, physical fight, 57-45.
Health restrictions in Fremont County eased this month, allowing the Punchers to play their second 2A Quadrant game against Wyoming Indian on Saturday. The Punchers dominated the second half for a significant conference win, 61-37.
“The boys played solid,” said head coach Nate Strong. “Even in the loss to Mountain View, we kept working hard and really stayed engaged. We are missing a couple of our kids with injuries, but others stepped up. I believe that this group is learning what it takes to become better and are willing to sacrifice individual attention for team success. The scores may not always indicate if you are successful or not, and I look forward to the next weeks.”
The Punchers played an exceptional first quarter, scoring 26 points while a threatening defense kept Jackson to only four. Senior Edwin Gonzalez set the rhythm with 12 points, including a 3-pointer and five free throws.
Jackson found its footing in the second quarter, outscoring Big Piney, 19-10. Gonzalez, senior Carlos Munoz and sophomore Jovany Munoz kept the Punchers on the scoreboard.
Riding high on its first-quarter success, Big Piney held the lead at halftime, 36-23.
Jackson hammered away in the third quarter, dropping in 20 points to 12 by Big Piney. Both teams kept the heat on in the final quarter with 18 points each.
Gonzalez finished the match with 26 points. Junior Ethan Whiterock scored 14 points, senior Carlos Munoz 13, Jovany Munoz seven, senior Liam Hughes four and junior Seth Stoutenburg two.
The Punchers and Buffalos pulled out all the stops during Friday’s battle on the court. Mountain View drew first blood in the opening quarter, outscoring Big Piney, 15-5.
The Punchers edged up in the second quarter, shooting in 10 points to nine from Mountain View.
Mountain View tossed in 14 to 10 by Big Piney in the third quarter. Both teams threw the punches in a close final quarter, with Big Piney outscoring Mountain View, 20-19.
Gonzalez led scoring with 17 points, including three from outside the perimeter. Whiterock tossed in double digits at 13 points with a pair of 3-pointers. Carlos Munoz also shot in double 3-pointers and a 2-pointer for eight points. Stoutenburg and Jovany Munoz rounded the tally out with four and three points respectively.
Saturday’s matchup appeared close in the first half. Big Piney led the first quarter, shooting in 18 points with Wyoming Indian scoring 15. Gonzalez tossed in 11 points, including a lethal run of 3-pointers.
Puncher defense ramped up the intensity in the second quarter, holding Wyoming Indian to three points while Big Piney offense scored nine.
Big Piney hit the court running in the third quarter, outscoring Wyoming Indian, 14-8. Gonzalez and Whiterock each dropped in a 3-pointer to pull Big Piney ahead by nine points. Stoutenburg went on a six-point run to widen Big Piney’s lead. Hughes rounded the tally out with a 2-pointer.
Big Piney trounced its opponent in the final quarter, scoring 20 points to 11 from Wyoming Indian. Jovany Munoz opened the quarter with a 2-pointer. Whiterock followed up with a steal and a layup. Stoutenburg swept in with a set of three 2-pointers.
The Punchers finished the game with a nice spread across seven players, including three in double digits. Gonzalez led with 25 points. Stoutenburg played 12 points, Whiterock 10, Hughes six, Jovany Munoz four, Carlos Munoz three and junior Jaspur Brower added a free throw.