Basketball season is in full swing and the travel season opened for the 5th-grade boys team in Worland this past weekend. The Wranglers lost a hard-fought battle with Cody in the championship by a mere three points but were pleased to bring home 2nd Place honors.
How it all went down
Like almost every tournament the Wranglers drew the 8 am game and faced off against the home Worland team. The Wranglers came out fighting from the tip and never looked back winning the game by more than 40 points. It was a truly impressive start given that this team has only been able to practice twice. Of course, with Yball underway many had already knocked off the rust and found their shots.
The second Saturday matchup would be the first of two with Cody who the Wranglers would face in the championship Sunday afternoon. The first-day game was tight the entire way but the Wranglers came up 3 points short despite playing a solid game defensively.
Saturday play ended with a rout of the Rawlins team that played Cody well early in the day. For all these young players, the first day concluded with everyone getting in the box score with at least a few points and a fair amount of success as a team.
Sunday’s matchup with Rawlins was much tighter than the previous day. The Wranglers found themselves down 5 with less than 2 minutes to play and a ticket to the championship hanging in the balance. A late defensive stand that can only be described as inspired was met with an equally impressive series of offensive possessions that gave the Wranglers the win and a rematch with the Cody Broncs.
The championship contest was tightly contested from a defensive perspective and neither team could remove the lids covering the baskets. Shooting percentages were low and at times it seemed like nothing would drop. Cody held an 8 point lead with just 4 minutes to play and the Wranglers rallied to pull within three with less than 10 seconds to play. Two great looks from behind the stripe but neither found the bottom of the net.
Finding pride and meaning in 2nd Place
There are matchups you expect to win, others you don’t. Every team the Wranglers faced in Worland are matchups they will look forward to again this season at other tournaments. The players, though immediately deflated by the missed opportunity to grasp a title, were happy to celebrate with each other shortly after the final buzzer and they recognized what a strong start this year has been already remembering that last season produced just one win.
Part of this process is focused on developing skills on the court, building friendships, fostering sportsmanship, and being courageous in the face of adversity. It’s also about shaping good humans. This weekend was a great canvas for all of that.
The people behind the scenes
A big thank you to Blacktooth Financial Inc and Prueit Ag Services LLC for their financial support this season. Their sponsorships will help cover the cost of outfitting, feeding, and transporting the players to the six tournaments this season. The team greatly appreciates it.