The Kemmerer High School boys’ basketball team opened the 2022-23 campaign in fine fashion over the weekend, posting a 3-0 record at the Bridger Valley Invitational.
The Rangers opened the tournament Friday afternoon with a 68-51 win over 1A Little Snake River, then followed that Saturday afternoon with a come-from-behind win over 1A Farson-Eden, 67-63. Kemmerer capped off the tournament Saturday night with a 75-70 win over host Mountain View.
It was a fast start to the season for the Rangers, and KHS head coach Matt Stewart said the games were a great confidence builder for his young squad.
“It went pretty well for us – we came out pretty strong in the first game against Little Snake River, but ran into a bit of a lull as the game wore on,” Stewart said. “Defensively in the second and third quarters of that game, we didn’t play as well as we’d like. But we put it together in the fourth quarter. We struggled pretty bad against Farson – going into the fourth quarter, we were down by 11. We battled back through some adversity – foul trouble with our big kids – but we pulled it out. The game against Mountain View was much of the same – we struggled defensively, and got into foul trouble. But the boys persevered through it, and came out on top again.”
The Rangers hope to continue their winning ways this weekend at the Shoshoni Invitational, with games scheduled against 2A powerhouse Rocky Mountain and 1A foes Burlington and Riverside.
“We’re heading to Shoshoni this weekend for their varsity tournament – we start Friday afternoon against Rocky Mountain, always a tough team in 2A,” Stewart said. “That will be a good test for us. Friday night, we play 1A Burlington, and Saturday, we play 1A Riverside. It’s always good to get out and play a lot of different levels of competition, see where you’re at this time of the year.”
As for what the Rangers need to work on this week in practice, Stewart said his team needs to match up better against physical teams.
“We definitely need to work on getting a little stronger on the inside – both offensively and defensively,” Stewart explained. “We’re going to face some physical teams again this weekend, and our big guys have to be able to match that physicality. We need to shore up our defense a little more, and we need to get our guys healthy – we had a lot of our younger guys who were sick last weekend, and weren’t able to go with us, so we didn’t have that depth that we were hoping for. We’re working on getting those kids back into the groove of things. This weekend will be a good gauge of who will be our key contributors, now that we’re at full strength.”
Little Snake River 51
The Rangers opened the Bridger Valley Tournament Friday with a 21-7 run against Little Snake River and never looked back, outpacing the Rattlers 68-51.
“[Against Little Snake River] I was really happy with our offense – the way we stuck to what we do,” Stewart said. “Defensively, we set a goal for each game for what we want to hold our opponents to, and we didn’t meet that. Offensively though, the kids surprised me – how aggressive they were attacking the basket, getting to the hoop and scoring.”
Senior Jake Kampman led the charge with his first double-double of the season, netting 35 points and pulling down 17 rebounds. Wyatt Peternal finished with 14 points, to go along with eight rebounds and five assists; Chase Bowen and Skylar Rogers scored eight points apiece, with Bowen grabbing seven rebounds and Rogers four. Kaden Witbeck dished off six assists, to go along with three rebounds.
“Jake Kampman had three pretty big games for us this weekend,” Stewart said. “He had 35 points and 17 rebounds against Little Snake River, so it was a strong effort from