Top seeds occasionally lose opening-round games to the bottom seed from the other side, but not often by 20 points, after they beat the other team on their home floor by 15 points just two weeks before.
The Shoshoni Wranglers pulled off the upset of the opening round of the Class 2-A West Tournament late Thursday afternoon in Wolverine gym with a surprisingly easy 61-41 win over the Southwest 2-A champion Wyoming Indian Chiefs.
Wyoming Indian was as cold as the below-zero weather outside, especially in the second half. The Chiefs couldn’t find the range, and their usual bombardment from beyond the arc was non-existent with Brandon Coffee hitting the only 3-point shot of the game.
In a stat line that indicates how poorly they shot the ball against the Wrangler defense, there were no Wyoming Indian players in double-figures in the contest.
The game opened with a lively back-and-forth exchange of baskets paced by six opening-period points by Allen Redman to pace the Chiefs, and baskets from six different Wranglers.
The complexion of the game changed dramatically in the middle two periods.
Shoshoni relied on the play of their two senior leaders Trey Fike and Alex Mills with Mills running the shot from the point and hitting off angled drives to the basket and Fike playing at his usual feverish pace with quick drives, pull-up jumpers in the paint and acrobatic reverse layups off full court plays.
Perhaps nothing exemplified the Wrangler effort more than a play with 5:01 left in the third period when Aidan Jarvis pulled down a rebound, ripped a half-court pass to Fike who then hit Mills with a perfect bounce pass on a no-dribble full-court fast break that put Shoshoni ahead 40-26.
Jarvis and senior Cannon Campbell had their best games of the season. Jarvis rebounded well, passed without turnovers, and hit key shots. Campbell took a pair of charges from Wyoming Indian on fast breaks and snagged key rebounds.
Sophomore Quinton Clark, the only true post on the Wrangler squad continued to improve and hit a key post move off a lob from Mills that was a key play in a 17-2 Shoshoni run that put the game away as the third period drew to a close. The Wranglers biggest lead came at 54-29.
Anyone who knows the Chiefs understands how fast they can move the ball and how quickly they can score. Wyoming Indian had one last run, on a 10-2 surge to open the final period, but a 17-point margin was all they could close to.
Fike paced the Wranglers with 25 points, Mills scored 12, and Clark eight. The Mills brothers, Alex and Braxton had the only 3-pointers for Shoshoni.
Cordell Spoonhunter and Redman led the Chiefs with eight and Coffee finished with seven.
Shoshoni plays St. Stephen’s a surprising win over a talented, but injured Rocky Mountain squad in a 58-53 win at the Riverton Middle School, at 7:30 pm in Wolverine Gym.
Wyoming Indian plays Rocky Mountain in an elimination game at 1 pm also at Riverton High School.
Shoshoni 14 18 19 10 – 61
Wyoming Indian 15 9 5 12 – 41
Shoshoni – Alex Mills 4 (1) 1-3 12, Aidan Jarvis 3 0-2 6, Trey Fike 9 7-11 25, Quinton Clark 4 0-0 8, Braxton Mills 1 (1) 1-3 6, Cannon Campbell 2 0-4 4. Totals 23 (2) 9-21 61
Wyoming Indian – Jerrell Tillman 1 2-2 4, Izaiah Burnett 1 0-2 2, Jason Slow Bear 3 0-0 6, Adriano Brown 1 0-0 2, Kalijah St. Clair 1 0-0 2, Anthony Big Knife 1 0-0 2, Brandon Coffee 1 (1) 2-4 7, Cordell Spoonhunter 4 0-0 8, Allen Redman 4 0-0 8. Totals 17 (1) 4-8 41