Rebels clinch No. 3 seed for regional

Nathan Oster

A weekend split in matchups with Ten Sleep and Burlington left the Riverside Rebels with a No. 3 seed for this weekend’s Class 1A West Regional in Lander.  They face Farson-Eden, the No. 2 seed from the South, at 11 a.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 22) in the auxiliary gym.

The Rebels won their final road game of the regular season, thumping Ten Sleep 68-48.  Four players scored in double digits with Josh Wildman pouring in 26, Hyson Hill and Hayden Paxton tallying 13 and Ryder Kozisek netting 10.

Coach Scott Winters credited his team’s fast start to its press, which forced a number of Ten Sleep turnovers that led to transition baskets.  But in the process of doing so, some of his starters encountered early foul trouble.

“The guys that came in off the bench did a great job sustaining our lead and not making any mental mistakes despite not being accustomed to playing a lot of varsity minutes throughout the year,” he said. “In the second half they tried pressing us and we were able to break it and get some easy transition baskets and increase our lead and get the win. 

“Josh had a really good game for us offensively and was one of the only starters to not get into foul trouble in the second half. Cooper Zierolf did great for us off the bench and played great defense and rebounded well for us, too.”

For Saturday’s grudge match with neighboring Burlington, Winters went with all-senior lineup to start, honoring Hayden Paxton, Josh Wildman, Cooper Zierolf, and Logan Saldana who were playing for the final time in the RHS gym.

“With a new starting lineup and some nerves for the seniors we had a slow start in the first quarter, but were able to find our rhythm in the second to cut it to a two point game at the half,” said Winters. “We were able to take the lead in the fourth quarter and it was really back and forth the whole second half. 

“I don’t think either team had more than a five- or six-point lead in the second half. We had our chances to get the win, but we missed some shots and had a few costly turnovers down the stretch. We competed well and I was proud of the way we gave ourselves a shot even though we weren’t shooting well.”

After connecting on 46% of their shots against Ten Sleep, the Rebels shot just 33% against Burlington.

Paxton was the only player in double digits, finishing with 17.



Win two before you lose two.  That’s the goal of every team heading into the three-day regional, which will send its top four squads to next weekend’s state tournament in Casper.  Up first is Farson Eden. On Friday, Riverside will play either Meeteetse or Little Snake River. Start time will be 10 a.m.

While the Rebels haven’t played Farson-Eden, Winters said, “We know they are a strong team, very disciplined, and have a couple guys that can score a lot of points. 

“We will need to have a great week of practice, stay focused, and be ready to compete in order to have some success at regionals this week.”



Ten Sleep 14 10 12 12 — 48

Riverside 20 10 18 20 — 68

RIVERSIDE — Josh Wildman 10-16 1-3 26, Hyson Hill 6-14 0-0 13, Hayden Paxton 5-8 2-2 13, Gavyn Cervantes 0-2 0-0 0, Avery Clifford 2-4 0-0 4, Wyatt Daly-Patterson 0-4 0-0 0, Ryder Kozisek 4-10 0-0 10, Cooper Zierolf 1-1 0-0 2.  Totals 28-of-60 3-of-5 68.

3-POINT GOALS — Wildman 5, Kozisek 2, Hill, Paxton. REBOUNDS — Riverside 26 (Paxton 6).  STEALS — Riverside  9.  ASSISTS — Riverside 14 (Daly-Patterson 4).  TURNOVERS — Riverside 7.

Burlington 14 13 19 12 — 58

Riverside   7 18 16 13 — 54

RIVERSIDE — Josh Wildman 3-14 2-2 9, Hyson Hill 2-11 0-0 5, Hayden Paxton 7-19 3-5 17, Matthew Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Avery Clifford 4-4 1-1 9, Wyatt Daly-Patterson 3-5 1-2 7, Ryder Kozisek 1-5 1-1 4, Cooper Zierolf 0-1 0-0 0.  Totals 20-of-60 8-of-11 54.

3-POINT GOALS — Wildman, Hill, Kozisek.  REBOUNDS — Riverside 25 (Paxton 13).  STEALS — Riverside 9 (Wildman 5).  ASSISTS — Riverside 10 (Wildman 4).  TURNOVERS — Riverside 12.