Rangers outlast Cokeville at home, 58-53

The Kemmerer High School boys’ basketball team snapped a five-game losing skid Friday night with a 58-53 win over visiting Cokeville, a run that began with the Panthers back on Jan. 7.

“I’m really proud of how the boys fought on Friday,” said KHS head coach Matt Stewart. “Cokeville has given us fits both times we’ve played them – they’re pretty aggressive defensively, and we struggled taking care of the ball in the first half.”

Cokeville (7-7, 2-1 in 1A SW Quadrant) jumped out to an 18-12 first-quarter lead, and led 30-23 at the break. The Rangers (7-7, 0-3 in 2A SW Quadrant) came out for the third firing on all cylinders, however, outscoring the visitors 18-8 and taking a 41-38 lead into the final frame. The two teams traded baskets for much of the quarter, with Kemmerer holding a 17-15 edge, holding on for the 58-53 win.

“We were down by seven at halftime, and had nine turnovers in the first half, and they converted on a bunch of those,” Stewart said. “But we talked about taking care of the ball in the locker room and being more aggressive on defense, and for the first time this year, we had a really solid third quarter – we held them to eight points, and that was huge for us, to be able to take a lead into the fourth. We stayed solid in the fourth, and were able to come out with the win.”

The Rangers finished with four players in double figures, led by a double-double by Jake Kampman – 19 points and 11 rebounds. Chase Bowen followed with 16 points, while Wyatt Peternal added 12 points. Skyler Rogers finished with 10 points, to go along with eight rebounds.

“Jake had another big game for us with a double-double, and Chase Bowen stepped up for us and really hit some big shots,” Stewart said. “He was 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, which is big for him. Wyatt Peternal played solid – he tweaked his ankle, so he had to sit for a bit while he got taped up, but he came back in and played through the pain, showed a lot of heart. Skyler Rogers ended up with 10 points, which is big for him – he struggled in the first half, and we just told him, ‘Hey, we have all the confidence in the world in you, that’s why you’re out there – you need to have some confidence in yourself.’ He came out after halftime, and ended up 5-for-7 from the field. That was really good to see out of him.”

The Rangers are back on the road this week, with non-conference games at Rich County Thursday, and Farson-Eden Friday.

“We’ve been watching film on Rich, and we saw them play at the Bridger Valley tournament,” Stewart said. “It will be different for us, going over to Utah and playing where they have a shot clock – that’s going to be interesting, and I know the kids are excited for it. We’ve all been wondering why Wyoming doesn’t have a shot clock, but I think it’s coming eventually. I think this will be a good opportunity for us to get to see that. Rich is always a tough place to play, and they’re playing some really good basketball right now.”