Road to perfection:
Results from the Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School boys varsity basketball team’s 22 wins this season:
(Date — opponent — score)
• Dec. 1/11 — Loveland — 81-37
• Dec. 2/11 — Colorado Springs — 85-22
• Dec. 3/11 — Fort Collins — 58-55
• Dec. 8/11 — Boulder — 62-49
• Dec. 9/11 — Grand Valley — 60-47
• Dec. 10/11 — Meeker — 57-41
• Dec. 16/11 — Rangely — 78-48
• Dec. 17/11 — Hayden — 64-51
• Jan. 6 — Hanna-Elk Mountain — 62-35
• Jan. 7 — Saratoga — 64-33
• Jan. 12 — Rangely — 77-44
• Jan. 13 — Saratoga — 76-32
• Jan. 20 — Farson-Eden — 64-34
• Jan. 21 — Cokeville — 79-39
• Jan. 27 — Big Piney — 86-37
• Jan. 28 — Encampment — 61-35
• Feb. 3 — St. Stephens — 67-39
• Feb. 4 — Manila, Utah — 73-51
• Feb. 10 — Cokeville — 59-33
• Feb. 11 — Farson-Eden — 63-19
• Feb. 17 — Hanna-Elk Mountain — 67-37
• Feb. 18 — Encampment — 77-39
— LSRV finished the regular season 22-0 overall, 8-0 in the Three Trails Conference
Protecting one’s home turf is a point of pride for any athlete.
For upperclassmen on the Little Snake River Valley School’s boys varsity basketball team, the duty of keeping up the sanctity of the home gym has been passed on to the next class.
The Rattlers of Baggs, Wyo., ended their regular season Saturday, signaling the beginning of the biggest tournaments of the season and the chance to advance to state.
LSRV (22-0 overall, 8-0 Three Trails Conference) played the final two conference games over the weekend, beating Hanna-Elk Mountain, 67-37, on the road Friday before returning home to top Encampment, 77-39.
Coach Paul Prestrud said the road game presented more of a challenge, though Hanna was struggling with changes in their roster.
“Hanna lost their point guard at the beginning of the year because he broke his hand and they’ve had some other troubles,” Prestrud said. “They were a pretty young team, too. We’ve been working on a press and we thought it would be best to try it out right away and I think it kind of frustrated them.”
Prestrud said the Rattlers managed 25 steals, many in the first quarter, but the Miners weren’t easily defeated — Hanna benefited from a number of fouls against Baggs.
“They had one kid who got 24 points, and 17 of them were free throws,” he said. “We got pretty sloppy reaching for that.”
Senior Miles Englehart led the scoring with 14 points, junior Grayson Lee had 13 and junior Conner Lee had 11.
“They didn’t get a lot of shooting in and we just kind of overpowered them,” Prestrud said.
Saturday’s game against Encampment presented a different opportunity.
Besides putting in several underclassmen for their last regular-season game of the year, Prestrud was proud to see his three seniors — Englehart, Daniel Wille and Rex Stanley — finish the season with a big win.
But, the players who have been on the team all four years of high school have been focusing on defending the honor of the Snake Pit since before they were freshmen.
“Daniel and Rex haven’t lost a game on their home floor since seventh-grade, and then Miles moved here a couple years after that and they’ve all kept that up, which is a pretty big accomplishment,” Prestrud said. “As a coach, it’ll be a sad day to see those guys go.”
Besides leading in points for the day — Stanley, 19; Wille, 17; Englehart, 11 — the seniors spoke about the poignant point in their lives and how much their younger team members need to cherish it.
“I know the juniors we have will want to keep up their tradition next year,” Prestrud said.
As the Rattlers head into the postseason, the thought of a repeat of their 2011 Wyoming state championship is a major motivator.
But, before worrying about the final game of 2012, the top-seeded Baggs team will travel Thursday to Lander to face the winner of a pigtail game between Farson-Eden and St. Stephens in the 1A West Regional Tournament.
“Our goal is to repeat going all the way again,” Prestrud said. “One thing these kids haven’t done yet is won a regional championship, and when we lost that last year, it kind of fired us up to come back and win state because we were still qualified for that.”
Prestrud said the team’s focus is exactly where it needs to be.
“Mentally, I think they’re ready for it,” he said. “Some of our games have been so lopsided that the seniors haven’t gotten to play as much as they should have, and I think they could have been leading scorers in the state.
“They’ve sat a lot and they’re good team players, but I think they know these next six games are really their legacy. … They’ve been waiting for this day.”
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