The Saratoga Sun -

Tigers bit by Rattlers; fend off Miners


The Encampment men (12-3), (4-1) held second place in the conference despite losing by two points to number one Little Snake River Valley (LSRV) on Friday. Encampment then handily beat Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow (HEM) on Saturday. Both games were on the road and the first of the two games was a very close contest that finished with LSRV (17-2), (6-0) on top 36-38. This game proved to be a real a barn burner between two good teams. The game was tied for the duration and this one came down to the wire. Encampment had a few turnovers right at the end that gave LSRV the advantage and subsequent win. Encampment also had some trouble with LSRV’s constant pressure on the ball. Turnovers were the deciding factor in this contest, and unfortunately the Tigers gave up most of them.

A.J. Kuster and Kyle Wessel both had double, double digits on the night with Kuster scoring 15 points and pulling down an incredible 20 rebounds. Wessel backed his team with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The defense was the strongest part of the effort from the Tigers according to coach Dan Kraft.

“Matt Jarrett really stood out on defense,” Kraft said. “ LSRV had a good scorer in Garret Grieves and Jarrett stuck with him the whole time and really shut him down.”

Sixteen of Kuster’s 20 rebounds, 16 were on the defensive end of the floor.

Both teams only scored 6 points in the fourth quarter and that showed what a defensive game it was, Kraft said.

“I was very pleased with our defense and our rebounding this week,” Kraft said. “If we get to the point where we can take better care of the ball, we will be a good team.”

Saturday, the Tigers won big in another conference game against HEM (1-18), (0-5). HEM is a young team and they don’t have strong numbers. These two factors have hurt HEM all season placing them fifth in the conference.

Matt Jarrett had another noticeable game but this time in offensive rebounding pulling down five boards. In less than three quarters of play, A.J. Kuster had another double, double, dominating with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Gaven Pantle came up with 16 points of his own on. Guy Erickson, Pantle and Harold Jackson combined for seven of 11 from behind the arc.

The outside shooting was a strong point of the team in the game, according to Kraft.

“The three-point shooting was a real plus for us,” Kraft said. “Teams have been packing in on Kuster and Wessel underneath so it was good to see the outside shooting come through.”

The Tigers next play two more conference match-ups during homecoming this week. The first of the two games is Friday afternoon against Farson-Eden (1-15), (1-4) at 4 p.m. The Tigers then play Cokeville (10-6), (2-3) Saturday at noon. Cokeville is number three in the conference and Encampment will be looking to hold the number two position with only three conference games remaining. LSRV comes to Encampment Friday Feb.15 for the last conference game of the season.


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