A bench is a great asset to a basketball team, and Wind River has a solid one. The Cougars and Wranglers renewed their 54-year rivalry at Shoshoni this time in a high scoring 90-75 win for Wind River that completes a season sweep of their Fremont County rivals and moves them one step closer to a Northwest 2-A Conference title if they can get by Greybull and Rocky Mountain in their final two home games of the season.
Shoshoni has perhaps the best backcourt tandem in Class 2-A in senior guards Alex Mills and Trey Fike. Mills at 6-2, plays the point and is a threat in the post as well. Fike is an energetic 5-8 guard that flies with wild abandon all over the floor hitting off-balance acrobatic shots against much taller opponents.
The attributes of these two players were on display at their home court Friday night with both finishing the game at 28 points each.
Two players do not often win against a deep team and that was the case once again against the Cougars.
Wind River can score in a lot of ways, via the three, the post, off the drive, and in transition, all those were evident as well in a scrappy, physical contest that featured five player control fouls called in the first period alone, with many more to come on the course of the game.
These guys have played each other since fifth grade and have a hard-hitting rivalry in football as well. No matter how many fouls game officials called, nearly side would back off and the physical style of play made for a very entertaining contest.
Wind River has an outstanding player in 6-3 senior Wylie Shearer. He can hit the three, score off the drives, has a fadeaway, a hook, and likes any shot the defense will give him. Shearer put on a show for his Cougar fans hitting 37 points to lead all scorers. He tallied nine close-range shots, four 3-pointers, and was seven-of-eight from the line.
While he was doing the damage on fast breaks and head coach Justin Walker’s half-court set, his teammates were firing away from the perimeter as well and hitting follow shots inside.
Brayden Leonhardt ripped the net from long range five times and had a pair of close-range shots for four more points scoring 19 total. Leonhardt has a bad shoulder that dislocates at times and it happened again in the second period as he chased a loose ball.
He left the floor holding his arm, exited to the lobby, did a little self-medication in pulling his shoulder back in place, and returned to the action just a few minutes later.
Jaycee Herbert, the fastest player in Class 2-A hounded Fike much of the game, but added a dozen points on a trey and three inside shots, leaping to rim level on his release, but he picked up his fourth foul in the second period.
Later, in the second half, he caught a rim-level backside lob from Hunter Walker in an impressive display of his vertical leap.
Shoshoni had a little razzle-dazzle as well in a full court a dribble layup off a Mills layup with a mid-court pass to Canon Campbell and a backside rim lob to Fike for a layup.
Teams are peaking with late-season skills in these final weeks of the year.
Calder Johnson had another play similar to the Walker / Herbert series with a lob to Walker over the Wrangler defense with 4:49 remaining in the third period that gave Wind River their first double-digit lead of the contest.
The Cougar scoring wrap-up went Shearer 37, Leonhardt 19, Herbert 12, and Walker 11.
The Wranglers had Fike and Mills at 28 each, and Leslie Todd with nine on three 3-pointers.
Todd is emerging as a deep threat for the Wranglers and 6-2 sophomore Quintan Clark continues to improve with physical play on the boards and in the paint.
It’s going to be a fabulous West 2-A Regional tournament in two weeks.
Shoshoni 18 22 20 15 – 75
Wind River 15 30 21 24 – 90
Shoshoni – Alex Mills 3 (5) 7-8 28, Aidan Jarvis 0-2 0, Trey Fike 9 10-14 28, Leslie Todd (3) 0-0 9, Quintan Clark 3 0-2 6, Braxton Mills 1 2-4 4. Totals 16 (8) 19-30 75
Wind River – Brayden Leonhardt 2 (5) 19, Hunter Walker 5 1-5 11, Mato Amos 1 0-1 2, Jaycee Herbert 3 (1) 3-6 12, Calder Johnson 1 0-0 2, Wambli Romero 1 (1) 1-2 6, Wylie Shearer 9 (4) 7-8 37, Rowdy Shearer 1-2 1. Totals 22 (11) 13-18 90