BIG HORN — Spurred by an excellent second quarter, the Big Horn High School boys basketball team had a convincing 64-44 victory Friday afternoon against Greybull in the first day of the Foothills Classic.
In their home opener, the Rams used aggressive pressure on defense and good offensive ball movement to open up a double-digit lead in the first half and cruise to the 20-point win. The Rams also crashed the offensive glass throughout the contest, getting several putbacks against Greybull’s zone defense.
Led by 18 points from Kade VanDyken and a quality all-around effort from Quinn McCafferty, Big Horn attacked the rim and converted turnovers into easy points.
McCafferty said the Rams gave good effort for most of the game’s 32 minutes but still have room to improve.
“We had a couple lapses but we were always able to come back and get down and play some defense, so that was good for us,” McCafferty said.
Likewise, Big Horn head coach Mike Daley was pleased with the team’s effort. The Rams got in a bit of foul trouble and allowed several easy baskets in transition but overall played well.
Big Horn led 14-9 after the first quarter and exploded for eight quick points to open the second stanza. Greybull struggled to run consistent offense due to the Rams’ stifling perimeter defense.
After giving up a bucket, the Rams went on another quick run, outscoring the Buffaloes 12-1 over the next three minutes to take a commanding 34-12 lead. That great stretch began when Will Pelissier saved a ball from going out-of-bounds and tossed it right to McCafferty, who caught the ball and converted an acrobatic layup in one motion.
Several minutes later, right before the second-quarter buzzer, McCafferty banked in a 3-pointer to give Big Horn a comfortable 39-20 lead at halftime. McCafferty totaled 13 points and made several nice passes, including a fastbreak behind-the-back assist to Kade Eisele in the third quarter.
Greybull went on a 17-2 run to cut Big Horn’s lead to 11 early in the fourth quarter, but the Rams’ starters pulled away in the final six minutes. Eisele converted two free throws and a layup in a span of 15 seconds to bring the margin back up to 17 and put any chance of a comeback to rest.
Daley said the team is getting the hang of each other and playing pretty well.
“It’s a group of young men still trying to figure me out and I’m trying to figure them out a little bit,” Daley said. “We’re going to get better every game … They’re listening wholeheartedly as a group, so I’m excited about where we’re at.”
Moreover, the head coach said offensive rebounding will be paramount for the Rams this season.
If Big Horn crashes the glass like it did against Greybull, it should have a quality year.
“With our height, we have to do that,” Daley said. “We’re gotta continue to work on conditioning, work on blocking out and crashing those offensive boards.”
“That’s kind of a high emphasis of ours, especially since those are long rebounds,” VanDyken said. “It really just comes down to who wants it more.”
VanDyken also said the team’s shot selection improved Friday afternoon.
“Last weekend, we kind of took a lot of, they weren’t bad shots, just out of rhythm,” VanDyken said. “Moving the ball around and getting it set up and letting the ball go … I think that helped us a lot, just shooting the ball in rhythm all game.”
Friday night, Big Horn (lost to/beat) No. 5 Wyoming Indian (score). The Rams are now 4-1 (3-2) overall.
The Rams host Wind River Saturday at 2 p.m.
Greybull — 9 11 13 11 — 44
Big Horn — 14 25 9 16 — 64
Greybull — Tracy 11, Kraft 10 Davita 6, Hill 5, Thuenson 4, Clark 3, Kiesel 3
Big Horn — VanDyken 18, McCafferty 13, Eisele 12, Parker 7, Bates 4, Pelissier 4, Bradshaw 3, Johnson 3