If the end of the 2011 calendar year is in indication, then 2012 might be a terrific time to be a Star Valley fan. On Tuesday, both the Lady Braves and Braves forged road wins in Evanston and then collected wins in their home opener against Bear Lake Thursday evening.
The Lady Braves, coming into the holiday contest leading the 3A classification in shooting percentage at 40 percent, shot a miserable 12 percent on the road against the Devils but still managed to claw their way to a 36-29 win for the eighth time in the last nine meetings with Evanston. Christy Clinger, who was the only player to hit a field goal in the first half, led the way with 13 points while the team shot just under 70 percent from the free-throw line to escape with the victory.
As for the Braves, they had not been able to solve the home court in Evanston for quite some time, having lost the last seven contests in Uinta County against the Red Devils. The Crimson & Gold came out scorching hot as they built a 20-5 lead in the first quarter and led by as many as 19 in the first half. However, the second quarter belonged to Evanston as Matt Eddington connected on a trio of three-point baskets to cut the lead to just six at intermission. With a much more methodical pace in the second half, the Braves were able to exploit several trapping schemes by the home team and hit their free throws down the stretch to win 55-51. It was the first win for Star Valley in Evanston since the 1999-2000 season. Wyatt Shinaver led the way with 18 points in his season debut while Dalton Passey had 12. Eddington had a game-high 19 points for the Devils while Tyler Chandler had ten points and 11 rebounds.
After playing almost an entire month’s worth of games on the road to begin the season, the Star Valley programs packed the gymnasium for their home opener over the holiday week as visiting Bear Lake High School made the short drive from Montpelier for the border war match up. The Lady Braves were anything but cold on their home court as Clinger set the tone early in the first quarter with a pair of three-point baskets. After scoring 36 in Evanston, the ladies had 35 at halftime against the Bears who struggled to handle the ball on the Afton court. Clinger again led the way with 17 points while Lexi Erickson had 15 points and seven rebounds. Ashley Hall also broke into double figures with 11 in a 65-28 rout. The Lady Braves now stand at 7-2 with their next four games at home.
The Braves, facing off against a very good Bear Lake team who’s only loss came to SVHS early in December, picked up where the Lady Braves left off, hitting from the outside and carving up the Bears with defense in a 55-42 victory. Four different players reached double figures, led again by Shinaver’s 13. Ridge Hillyard had 11 while Tyler Ealey and Kohl Battleson each had ten. David Livingston played extended minutes for the first time in the young season with Pahl Schwab and Passey in foul trouble, notching a game-high seven rebounds, the same number corralled by Bear Lake’s Porter Wallentine, who had a game-high 16 points. The Braves will next host undefeated Lander next Friday and Pinedale On Saturday.