Balanced attack lifts Rebels over Dubois

Nathan Oster

The Riverside Rebels didn’t play their best basketball of the season, but it was good enough to salvage a split of weekend games against Dubois and Meeteetse and guarantee themselves a trip to the Class 1A West Regional in Lander.
Coach Scott Winters said his team battled sickness all week.
“We had several guys missing every day at practice and several who weren’t feeling great for our games,” he said, adding that he’s hopeful the worst of it is behind his team so it can be at full strength for the regional tournament.
A strong start in Friday’s home game against Dubois propelled the Rebels to a 66-45 win that clinched a top three finish in the conference.
“Hayden (Paxton), Josh (Wildman) and Hyson (Hill) set the tone for us defensively and that led to some transition offense,” said Winters. “We came out in the third quarter without that intensity and allowed them to go on a run the first few minutes but we responded well and were able to close out the game on a big run of our own.”
Hayden Paxton paced Riverside with 18 points, followed by Josh Wildman with 12 and Ryder Kozisek with 11.   Hyson Hill added nine and Avery Clifford and Wyatt Daly-Patterson chimed in with eight apiece.
Winters said the balanced scoring attack made a difference — and he wants it to continue. “I feel like going into the last week of the season and regionals it is important that everyone is a threat offensively so if someone is having an off game somebody else can step up.”
The Rebels couldn’t notch the weekend sweep, losing to Meeteetse 57-45 on Saturday.
Winters said several of his players weren’t feeling well, but tried to play through it.
“We came out with a lack of focus or energy, and against good teams, they take advantage of that,” said Winters, whose team surrendered 23 points in the second quarter and trailed 37-19 at halftime.
“We responded well in the second half and executed the way we’re capable of, but when you allow a team to get that big of a lead it’s hard to get back in it,” he said. “We struggled offensively, with the exception of Josh who got hot in the second half from the 3-point line.
“We are going to have to be more focused in our last two games and at regionals if we want to be able to compete and advance.”
The Rebels wrap up conference play this weekend with a road trip to Ten Sleep on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest, followed by a home game against Burlington on Saturday. Tip times are 4 p.m. for the JV, 7 p.m. for the varsity.

Dubois    10 14 13   8 — 45
Riverside    17 17 11 21 — 66
RIVERSIDE —Josh Wildman 5-13 2-3 12, Hyson Hill 2-6 4-7 9, Hayden Paxton 7-11 4-5 18, Avery Clifford 3-7 1-2 8, 4-11 0-0 8, Wyatt Daly-Patterson 4-11 0-0 8, Ryder Kozisek 4-21 1-4 11.  Totals 25-of-69 (FGs) 12-of-21 (FTs) 66.
3-POINT GOALS — Kozisek 2, Clifford, Hill.  REBOUNDS — Riverside 34 (Kozisek 12).  STEALS — Riverside 11 (Wildman, Kozisek 3).  ASSISTS — Riverside 9 (Wildman 5).  TURNOVERS — Riverside 5.
Meeteetse 14 23   9 11 — 57
Riverside      8 11 12 16 — 47
RIVERSIDE — Wildman 6-10 0-0 16, Hill 0-5 4-5 4, Paxton 5-8 5-7 16, Paul Stone 0-0 2-2 2, Clifford 0-4 3-4 3, Daly-Patterson  0-3 0-0 0, Kozisek 2-11 1-2 6.  Totals 13-41 15-20 47.
3-POINT GOALS — Wildman 4, Paxton, Kozisek.  REBOUNDS — Riverside 31 (Paxton 9).  STEALS — Riverside 5.  ASSISTS — Riverside 7 (Paxton 3).  TURNOVERS — Riverside 20.