The Saratoga Sun -

Miners win in Wheatland, lose to Panthers at home

 

Mike Armstrong

Miner Basil Phillips prepares to shoot form the line Thursday.

Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School boys basketball team faced Wheatland sophomores on Thursday, that size and age actually matched up on paper fairly closely, but the Miners came out on top with a win, 60-36.

Cliff Jones, head boys basketball coach, tried to give his players all a chance to get some court time in this matchup.

"We try to find a way for all the boys to play," Jones said.

He was impressed with how well his team did given it had been 20 days since they had played.

"We have had practices, but we haven't played since Dec, 15," Jones said. "So I can see there were some things we didn't do as quick as we wanted, but once we got into a rhythm, we did pretty well."

Jones was happy with how well the team shared and shot the ball.

"We were shooting a lot of point blank shots from four feet away," Jones said. "We had to work to get there, but it was good to see us get the shots."

The Bulldogs were never a threat after the second half started.

"I was impressed with our sophomore crew," Jones said. "I though Brendon Reeves did a great job. Not many guys are the starting center and back up point guard, so it shows great versatility."

Jones said, Tylor Goodro had been sick over the break, so it had been 20 days since Goodro had played. Conor and Shane McGraw had games Jones was pleased to see and he said Kyle Solaas was coming along. Solaas, a 6'2" senior, had not played basketball for several years, but had come out for the team his last year in school.

Jones said Solaas helped the team with his size defensively.

"We are a work in progress," Jones said.

The next game the Miners played on Saturday proved his words true.

Panthers Pounce

on Miners

Saturday was a tough day for the boy's basketball team as they faced Saratoga, the day after the Panthers beat Encampment in overtime.

"You have to give coach Williams and coach Crawford a lot of credit for having their team ready to play," Jones said. "After Friday's shootout, overtime win against Encampment it would have been easy for them to not be focused."

But focused Saratoga was. The start of the game had HEM take an early lead, but once the Panthers got ahead, Saratoga took over.

The half time score was in favor of Saratoga 29-15.

There were moments HEM had some good plays, but Saratoga would come right back and it became apparent the Miners were going to need some strong scoring from all players to come back.

It didn't happen.

"They played really well and simply out worked us and I thought defensively Saratoga played very well and we didn't execute our offense like we are a capable of doing," Jones said.

"We weren't moving with a purpose and had too many turnovers and we didn't rebound the basketball or shoot well enough to win."

Mike Armstrong

Miner Kyle Solaas is waiting for ball at the game on Thursday against Wheatland.

Jones said 14 missed shots inside the lane hurt the team.

"We gave them way to many second chance points and we were out scored by 15 points in the 4th quarter and 12 points in the 2nd quarter," Jones said. "We lost our focus as the game progressed in both halves and I will take the blame for that as I think a lot of that is a conditioning issue."

Shane McGraw had 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Miners in both categories.

"Overall we did some nice things at times, just not enough over the course of the game to keep it competitive,"Jones said. "Moving forward we will learn from this experience and it was the type of game that will help us prepare for the regional tournament."

The next game is against Rawlins JV at 7 p.m.on Jan. 9 at HEM.

 

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