The Braves continue to be the team to beat as they downed two more conference foes on the home court this past weekend to move to (13-3) overall and (9-0) in the 3A West.
Wyatt Shinaver paced the team with 22 points in a 63-50 victory over Powell while Dalton Passey’s 13 third quarter points helped Star Valley sprint away in a 51-30 gem against Cody.
“I was happy,” stated head coach Tony Saras. “We got off to a little better start. We had been getting behind and we’ve been trying to get that thought process out of their minds. We started better than we have over the past few games.”
Against the Panthers, the Braves put together four quarters of at least 14 points as they turned a nine-point halftime advantage into a 17-point margin at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Powell had no answers for Shinaver who hit nine field goals and added five free throws. Passey finished with 14 points while Kohl Battleson hit a pair of three-pointers on his way to nine points. D.J. Sims added seven points. Kalai Smith carried the Panthers with 22 points.
Saras believes there are some things to improve upon as a team, particularly on the defensive side.
“The kids are allowed to switch and sometimes we do that without communicating so we need to make sure we’re more verbal,” he added. “A lot of people may not notice it but they have to be able to communicate. It seems like when it happens the other teams score or they get an offensive rebound and thats something we can definitely improve upon. We would also like to extend the possession and get a little better shot.”
Against Cody, it was timely long-range shooting that doomed the Broncs. With Star Valley leading 17-10 in a low-scoring second quarter, Battleson hit a three-pointer from the corner and then Austin Valentine drained one as well off one foot just before the buzzer for a 23-10 halftime lead.
The Braves continued to make it rain from beyond the arc to begin the third quarter as Passey hit a trio of bombs en route to a 13-point third quarter burst from the 6’ 0” senior. In all, Passey hit four three-pointers in the second half as he led the team with 16 points. Junior Trace Haderlie hit double figures as well with ten points while Shinaver had a short night with foul trouble and ended with eight. As a team, the Braves had a terrific passing weekend with 18 and 19 assists respectively. Battleson finished with seven of them against Cody.
Up next is a trip to Lander to take on the Tigers. It is a floor on which Star Valley fans had to suffer through a tip-in at the buzzer from Lander’s Lucas Watkins a year ago. The 6’ 7” senior will be waiting again as the Tigers are coming off an upset win in Lyman.
“When we played them before they got up on a 8-1 lead and we’ve tried to tell our guys that we don’t want to do that up at their place,” Saras concluded. “They are obviously playing better and they’ve beat several conference teams lately but if we do what we do well we should have a chance to keep things rolling.”
Star Valley will wrap up the weekend with a trip to Pinedale where they face the struggling Wranglers.