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November 29, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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November 29, 2012 I The Lovell Chronicle I 11 BY DAVID PECK Michael Simmons has learned to adjust to his team's strengths, even if it goes against his coach- ing nature, and that means more up-tempo basketball for the guard-rich Rocky Mountain Grizzlies in 2012-13. Though he prefers more of a controlled game, the coach, now entering his eighth year at the helm of the Grizz, knows that his team will once again have more success running the floor than pounding it in- side, although he said the inside game should be much improved this year with a bit more height and more experience. Last year's freshman/ sophomore dominated team went 5-3 in the 2A Northwest, 8-13 overall, before winning one of three games at the regional tour- nament, finishing 9-15. The Grizz return 10 play- ers from that squad, los- ing only Derik Romero to graduation. There are 24 players out for the team, and Simmons said pre-season practices have been productive. He is once again working with veteran assistant Pat Win- land (JV), third-year coach Justin Moss (freshmen) and second-year volunteer as- sistant Jeff Samson. "Practice is going won- derful," Simmons said. "I told the kids after (a re- cent practice) that it was as good a practice as I've ever had in a pre-Christmas environment. "We had a good off-sea- son. A lot of kids did stuff over the summer from get- ting in the weight room to playing plenty of basket- ball. They are picking up stuff quickly, which has allowed us to move faster than in years past." STRENGTHS "We're heavy on the guards," Simmons said when asked about his team's strengths, adding, "We're not going to run out of guards this year. Our three seniors can handle the ball, as well as our un- derclassmen. It's definitely a strength." With a roster full of ath- letic guards, the Grizz will run the fast break and play aggressive defense, Sim- mons said. "Our style and tempo will be very similar to last year, and one can argue that it's even increased a bit," he said. "We'll get up and down (the court). We had as many shot attempts as ever last year, and I don't see anything different this year. It's read and react." In the half court Rocky will run a four-out motion, similar to last year, with one post player and four guards out front, though with the addition of another post player to go with Kirby Winland (John Higgins) the Grizzlies will be able to play some more traditional two- post offense, as well. "With a year more ma- turity we can add some things to mix it up against certain teams," Simmons said. Kirby is an inch big- ger and about 15 pounds heavier and with John our post play is improved, arguably more than our guard play." THE LINEUP Running the team at point guard will be senior Michael Bernhisel and sophomore Cannon Sim- mons. Both are quick and have great "basketball IQs," Coach Simmons said, add- ing, "Cannon is faster, but Michael has a good, quick first step. Michael is a good spot-up shooter, and Can- DAVID PECK Assistant coach Jeff Samson, left, and head coach Michael Simmons, right, instruct players, including Shane Wocicki and Bryce Ward, during drills Tuesday afternoon in Cowley. non is a slasher." Bernhisel averaged 8.3 points per game last year, Simmons said. Runningat the "two" guard position - shoot- ing guard -- will be senior Shane Wocicki, junior Xavi- er Mangus, sophomores Ca- leb Horrocks and Tanner Coleman and/or Bernhisel. Wocicki has good "length" at 6 feet tall with long arms, Simmons said. "He's long and tall and is getting more confidence," he said. "He had a great summer building confi- dence. He can shoot the ball and is a pretty good slasher. He will go to the rim hard and can finish with both hands." Horrocks was elevat- ed to the varsity roster late last season and gained more confidence with a suc- cessful football season, Sim- mons said. "He's hard-nosed and has no problems getting in and mixing it up. He'll go after loose balls and is a go-getter. Mangus, though only 5-7, has great reach for his size, Simmons said, and though he's small he has a knack for getting inside for rebounds and baskets. "He has a keen sense for finding the ball, and he moves well without the ball;" the coach said. Coleman is a strong spot-up shooter who can knock down three-pointers, Simmons said. Working at the "three" position - wing - is soph- omore Bill Despain, ju- nior Joey Jewell and.senior Bryce Ward. Despain (6-0) is very athletic with a good basket- ball IQ, Simmons said, add- ing that Despain knows the game and provided a spark off the bench last season. Jewell can play three positions, three through five, though he is perhaps most suited to the three, Simmons said. He can jump and is very athletic, he add- ed, and has worked to im- prove his jump shot in the off season. Ward (6-0) can play both the three and the four - forward - and led the Grizz in scoring last season at 12.7 points per game. "He loves to go down in the corner and shoot the three, but he also has the ability to drive the baseline and get to the basket," Sim- mons said. "I hope he'll do that even more and get to the foul line." Returning at center, with an ability to play for- ward, as well, is sopho- more Kirby Winland (6-3), who led the team and was among the conference lead- ers in blocked shots as a freshman. "Kirby gained lots of ex- perience as a freshman," Simmons said. "He has con- tinued to work on his jump shot and moves with his back to the basket. He's a great shot contender, and he led the team in rebound- ing. He's capable of han- dling the ball. His whole game has improved." Backing up Winland or playing the post with Win- land at forward will be fel- low sophomore John Hig- gins (6-1). "He gained as much strength as anybody," Sim- mons said. "John is strong and works hard. He played on the line in football, and that will carry over to basketball. "He battles Kirby in practice. It's exciting to have another big, strong guy to go against Kirby. In the future he'll give us the opportunity to run a con- ventional two-in offense." BHB SHOOTOUT The Grizzlies will once again compete in the Big Horn Basin Shootout this weekend to open the season. The varsity team will meet Wind River at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Greybull High School, then take on Kemmerer Friday at 8 p.m. at Riverside High School. The Grizz will finish up against Big Piney Saturday at 4 p.m. in Burlington. The JVs will meet Wind River Friday at 2:45 p.m. in the old Greybull gym and on Saturday will meet Big Piney at 2:15 p.m. at Burlington in the auxil- iary gym. Grizz, Mustangs prepare for conference tournaments BY DAVID PECK Local middle school boys basketball teams are preparing for their up- coming conference tour- naments, with the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies head- ing to Meeteetse this week- end and the Lovell Mus- tangs going to Thermopolis (seventh grade) and Wor- land (eighth) the following weekend. The Rocky Mountain "A" team hosted Powell for their only action of Thanks- giving Week last Tues- day. The "A" team crushed Powell 30-17 as Cole Sim- mons and Garrett Vezain scored 10 points each. La- than May added 6 points, Wyatt Horrocks and Domi- nic Twomey 2 apiece. Powell won the "B" game 42-41 in overtime, and Rocky won a two-quar- ter "C" game 23-14. The Grizz will travel to Powell today (Thursday) for a rematch with the Cubs, with games starting at 3:30 p.m. Then it will be off to the conference tournament in Meeteetse Friday and Saturday. The top-seeded Grizz will meet the winner of the Ten Sleep-Cloud Peak game Friday at 5:40 p.m., and if they win, they will play in the championship game Sat- urday at 11:20 a.m. If they lose the first game they will play for third and fourth Saturday at 12:40 p.m. LOVELL RESULTS The Lovell Middle School eighth-grade team swept a pair of contests during the past week. On Tuesday, Nov.. 20, the Mustangs clobbered Cody at home, 41-29, in the "A" game and also won the "B" game 42-27. Bran- don Teter topped scorers in the A game with 15 points, while Riley Abraham, Re- ece May, Tyler Teter and Trace Murphey scored 6 each, Kyle Burton 2. The following Tuesday, Nov. 27, the A team stopped the Powell Cubs in Powell, 32-10, as Kaleb Mayes and Brandon Teter scored 10 points each, Tyler Teter 4 and May, Joey Mickelson, Kade Gifford and Murphey 2 apiece. Lovell also won the B game 28-18. The Lovell seventh- grade squad played a pair of A games on the same two Tuesdays, falling to Cody on the road Nov. 20, 42-16, and falling at home Nov. 27 to Powell, 34-18. Kyle Wolvington scored 10 points and Jeremy Schneider 6 against Cody, and Wolvington scored 12 points against Powell, Schneider 4 and Kane Pa- dilla and Antonio Garza 1 apiece. The Mustangs are scheduled to host Greybull next Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 4:15 p.m. Rocky freshmen drop opener BY DAVID PECK The Rocky Mountain High School freshman boys basketball team opened the 2012-13 season at home on Tuesday evening, falling to the Riverside Rebels 45-35 in Cowley. Rocky trailed 28-14 at the half, then cut into the lead with a 10-3 third-quar- ter advantage to trail 31- 24 before Riverside won the fourth 14-11 to win by 10. Cordell McFarlane and Cole Wambeke scored 14 points each to lead the Grizz, and Payton Thom- as, Dylan Williams and Ben Estes 2 each, Travis Banks 1. The Grizzly frosh will compete at the Lovell Tour- nament this weekend. Have a new tipr=" J~ eee ( ontact Lowll ( hronl BY DAVID PECK The Lovell Bulldogs were oh so close to a state championship last season, and while they graduated six seniors from the squad including leading scorer Co- lin May, they return sev- en other players who saw varsity time including the number two, three and four scorers. The Bulldogs were 22-6 before falling to Wyo- ming Indian in the Class 2A championship game in Casper, and gone from that strong team are Colin and McKayan May, Collin McArthur, Steven Pickett, Hunter Hinckley and Mor- gan Baxendale. There are currently 26 players practicing for the 2012-13 season, which opens with the Bulldogs at the Ri- verton/Lander Tournament. The varsity roster includes three returning s arters: all-state center Cod'y Sav- age (6-6), who led the team in rebounding a year ago at 9 caroms per game and in blocked shots (34) and was second in scoring at 17.6 points per game, shooting 58.3 percent from the field; all-conference guard Dylan Hultgren, who led the team in assists (3.5 per game) and was third in scoring (7.2 ppg) and all-conference forward Ryan Clark, who was second in rebounding (5.9 rpg) and fourth in scoring (6.4 ppg). All three are seniors. Also returning With some varsity experience are senior Austin Ellis and ju- niors Brandon Wolvington, Calin McArthur and Jacob Adey. So the cupboard isn't ex- actly bare. "Practices are going well," coach Brian May said. "The kids are working hard. It seems like the younger kids are catching on. "We've made some mi- nor changes offensively based on what we felt we needed to do with our per- sonnel, simplifying a few things. We'll try to use our strengths within our offen- sive philosophy to work in- side but also work on our outside game, as well." After graduating five wing or guard players, May said the Bulldogs are obvi- ously working to fill in at the "two" and "three" posi- tions but will also look for a backup point guard to spell Hultgren. He said Adey and fellow junior Chase Tippetts can play multiple positions on varsity and will be hon- ing their point guard skills at the junior varsity level. He expects several players to step up their game this season. "It's always nice to be able to bring back experi- ence with three kids who have played quality minutes at the varsity level and have been successful," May said when asked about his team strengths. "We'll be strong at the 'one' spot to break pressure and get into our of- fense, and our inside pres- ence will be strong. We're hoping our rebounding will be strong, not only with Cody and Ryan but also with Austin and Brandon." THE LINEUP Returning at point guard will be senior Dylan Hultgren, who May said has great vision on the floor with an ability to put the ball in the right place. "What I also like about Dylan is that he's a good ball-handler and shooter, but we can also post him up against smaller guards," May said. Juniors Chase Tip- petts and J cob Adey will back up Hultgren and also play at the ' two" guard. Both have improved their ball-handling and perime- ter shooting, May said, add- ing that Tippetts is a strong defender. Junior Calin McArthur could eventually start at the "two" position, although he is currently healing from a knee injury suffered in the state football champion- ship game. When healthy, May said, McArthur is one of the team's strongest de- fenders, an intense player who "is not afraid to guard. anybody." "He has the mentality you need in a good defender, and his shot is improving, too," the coach said. Sophomores Mysen McArthur (5-11) and Seth Kite (6-2) are versatile play- ers who can play the two, three and four positions. "Mysen can post up well and penetrate to the bas- ket well," May said. "He can hit the open shot and works well defensively. He gets out on the wing and moves well. "Seth can play the two, three and four and even has potential to play the one. He's just a sophomore so we'll work with him on that. He has good length and is a good outside shooter." Senior Ryan Clark (6-3) will start at the three and can also play inside at the four, May said. "Ryan gives us the abil- ity to penetrate to the bas- ket, and he's an excellent re- bounder," May said. "We're hoping when the shot goes up he'll be able to get the offensive rebound. He does a good job shooting the ball and has the ability to post up. He has good length and nice hands for rebounding." Working at the four will Go local ... Advertise now on Wyoming's #1 rated 'small weekly newspaper' website ... new season be senior Austin Ellis (6-4) and junior Brandon Wolv- ington (6-4). "Austin is a pretty good defender who jumps well, has good speed and has the ability to block shots," May said. "Brandon has worked really hard on his post moves offensively and on his outside shot. Both of them have the ability to move and get up and down the floor. They may have to play the five spot, as well, at times. Starting inside at the five and possessing the abil- ity to play the four or even the three is senior Cody Sav- age (6-6). "Cody is a real solid post player who has the ability to use both hands and go both ways to the basket," May said. "He is a good defend- er and does a great job get- ting up and down the floor. His shooting has improved with his inside game plus his three-point range and his mid game. His jump shot has really improved." WEEKEND TOURNEY May is looking forward to the tough competition of the Riverton/Lander tour- nament this weekend. The Lovell varsity will meet Douglas Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Riverton High School, Lander Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Riverton Middle School and Worland Satur- day at 1:30 p.m. at RHS. The JVs, coached by RJ May, will meet Douglas Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Lander Fieldhouse, Land- er Saturday at 2 p.m. at the auxiliary gym and Worland Saturday at 5 p.m. at the fieldhouse. Coach Craig Lundberg will lead the Lovell fresh- men in the Lovell Fresh- man Tournament this weekend.