Grizz win eighth grade title, advance to finals

David Peck

Champions. And they’re gunning for more.

The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies eighth grade boys basketball squad dominated the Big Horn Conference Tournament in Burlington Saturday to win the title and will now move on to the large-school Yellowstone Conference Tournament in Cody.

The Grizzlies, under the guidance of head coach Josh Sponsel, clobbered Greybull in a semifinal game Saturday morning, 50-18, then pulled away from host Burlington in the championship game to win 44-24.

It was all Rocky Mountain against Greybull as the Grizz took a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and outscored the Buffalos 11-3 in the second to lead 32-10 at halftime. It was more of the same in the second half as Rocky outscored Greybull 9-1 in the third quarter and 9-7 in the fourth to win by 32 points.

Mason Moss led a balanced attack with 11 points, and Zach Unruh and Cooper Winland added 10 points each, Jaxon Hayes 8, Cooper Ward 4, Kreegan Jones 3 and Leland Hetland and Gary Gardner 2 apiece.

The Grizz took charge early, once again, in the championship game, leading Burlington 13-5 after the first quarter and 23-10 at halftime. It was more of the same in the second half as Rocky outscored Burlington 9-4 in the third quarter and 12-10 in the fourth to win by 20, 44-24.

Moss finished with 14 points for the Grizzlies, Winland 12, Ward 8,
Unruh and Jones 4 apiece, Hetland 2.

Now 15-2, the Grizzlies are seeded number one in Saturday’s Yellowstone Conference Tournament in Cody, taking on eighth seed Lovell at 9 a.m. at Sunset Gym. If the Grizz win, they will play the winner of the Cody-Worland game at 11:30 a.m. in the semifinals. The championship game is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. following a 2 p.m. third-place game.

Seventh grade

The Rocky Mountain seventh grade squad won two of three games at the Big Horn Conference Tournament in Greybull to place third.

Third-seeded Rocky clobbered sixth seed Meeteetse 47-3 in the first game Saturday morning, building a 35-3 halftime lead and shutting the Longhorns out 12-0 in the second half.

Jaxx May led the Grizz with 16 points, followed by Jaxson Sponsel and sixth grader Dane Wilson with 8 points each, Tejeo Scheeler and Cameron Minchow 4 apiece, Jayden Scheeler 3, Lukas Miller and sixth grader Madden Cooley 2 each.

Meeting second seed Greybull in the semifinals, the McKay Baxendale-led Grizz fell 26-7, struggling to score throughout the game. Tejeo Scheeler scored 5 points, Miller and Wilson 1 apiece.

The Grizzlies bounced back to crush Shoshoni 36-0 in the third-place game. Sponsel scored 9 points, May and Miller 7 each, Jayden Scheeler 5, Wilson 4 and Tejeo Scheeler and Minchow 2 each.

Sixth grade

Coach Rod Winland’s sixth-grade squad wrapped up an 11-1 season Thursday afternoon with a 25-23 win over the Burlington Huskies in Burlington. The Grizzlies trailed 10-6 after the first quarter but outscored the home team 7-2 in the second quarter to lead 13-12 at halftime. Rocky edged Burlington 12-11 in the second half to prevail by two.

Wilson led the Grizz with 8 points, and Cooley added 5 points, Ty Samson and Brooks Brost 4 each, Hudson Moore and
Tyler Crosby 2 apiece. Brost led the team with four rebounds, and Cooley led with four steals and three assists.