Three Grizzlies receive postseason honors

David Peck

Rocky Mountain High School boys basketball coach Pat Winland announced last week that two members of the Grizzly basketball team have been named to the Class 2A Northwest All-Conference team, with one honorable mention honoree, as well.
Junior guards Bryce Haslem and Cole Minchow were named all-conference, and junior forward Lafe Files received honorable mention recognition.
Haslem was the Grizzly point guard, running the offense, but he also provided scoring punch when needed, such as when he lit up the Shoshoni Wranglers for 22 points in a win at the regional tournament in Riverton. He averaged 6.3 points per game and led the team with 2.1 assists, 1.6 deflections and 1.9 steals per contest.
“Bryce got us into our offense, and he had a great regional tournament,” Winland said. “He led us in three-point field goal percentage at 30 percent and in assists, deflections and steals. Bryce has played in a lot of games in the past three years, and you can definitely see his confidence growing year by year.”
Winland said he also appreciated Haslem’s work ethic.
“If there was an open gym, Bryce was there during the summer,” he said. “He’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve had. He’s willing to sacrifice his individual game for the betterment of the team. His ballhandling has improved the most, and his shooting got better during the season.
“He will be that kid who will put in the time this summer to get better.”
Minchow led the team in scoring, averaging 9.3 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from two-point range, 23 percent from beyond the arc and 58 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
“Cole had the ability to get hot (from the outside) during several games but was also willing to go to the basket,” Winland said. “Later in the year he got better at finishing at the basket.
“Like Bryce, he was always at open gym and organized times for players to be there. Probably out of our bunch he loves the game the most. Cole is always looking to please his coaches, and when he doesn’t perform to his standards, he feels like he’s letting people down.
“Both he and Bryce are quiet leaders. They show up for stuff, and it goes to show you what working on your game from March to November can do.”
Files got some votes for all-conference this year, Winland said. Files was second on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game while also averaging 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game.
“Lafe was a three-four guy who had some good moments during the season where he led us in scoring,” Winland said. “I thought he played with more confidence this year, his first year at the varsity level. He’s a good, all-around athlete who plays multiple sports.
“Next year we’re going to try to put him in a better position playing at the three (small forward) where he is more comfortable.”
Winland said he believes the Grizzlies are on the upswing after a rebuilding year.
“I think we can hit the ground running, and I hope the kids will put in the time this summer for us to be able to compete for a conference championship, which I believe we can do.”
Winland said Thermopolis will move down from 3A to join the conference, with Wind River moving to the Southwest and St. Stephens dropping to 1A.