ROCK SPRINGS – It was a good night for Rock Springs basketball as both the Tigers and Lady Tigers brought home wins over Kelly Walsh.
The Lady Tigers opened play Friday night looking to erase their start to conference play. After starting the season 7-0, Rock Springs entered with a 1-2 record in conference play including a 15-point loss to Green River last time out. Kelly Walsh entered with a 2-1 conference record and ranked fifth in the current rankings.
Despite early shooting troubles, the Lady Tigers attacked the offensive boards. Emily Quigly and Ky Buell scored early points. A three by Maggie Justinak put the ladies in front. Quigly had five early points as the Lady Tigers lead after one, 13-11.
Rock Springs opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run to extend the lead to eight. Buell hit from deep and Quigly added post points and the Lady Tigers jumped up 11, 27-16. After a small run by Kelly Walsh, Justinak knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to give RSHS the 31-22 lead at the break.
The Lady Trojans opened the second half with the first four. Sarye Thomas ended the run and the Tigers looked to Quigly who responded with several buckets as the Lady Tigers jumped back up nine. Buell hit another deep three with time running down in the third to put Rock Springs up 10 after three, 43-33.
Selena Cudney and Quigly hit to open the fourth and the run was on. Jenkins, Justinak, Cudney and Buell all scored points down the stretch as the Lady Tigers ran away with the 57-41 win.
Tigers vs Trojans
For the Tigers, it has been a perfect start to conference play. They welcomed in the other undefeated team in the 4A West and top-ranked team in the state, Kelly Walsh. The Tigers came out firing and behind threes by Nick McMurtrey and Trevor Hautala and a bucket by Brady Arnoldi jumped up 10-3. Kelby Kramer had several post buckets including a putback dunk as Rock Springs went up 10. Jesus Beltran came off the bench and provided another spark as the Tigers jumped up 17 after the first quarter.
Kelly Walsh quickly erased the lead to start the second. A Kramer putback stopped the bleeding but the Trojans continued to come at the Tigers. At the half, the Tigers led by seven, 41-34.
Kramer and Hautala matched early buckets by Kelly Walsh to start the third. Hautala knocked down one of his seven threes on the night to put the Tigers back up 10, 51-41. Again, Kelly Walsh came storming back and pulled back to within one, 55-54. Rock Springs scored the last six including a Hautala three at the buzzer to jump back up seven heading into the fourth, 61-54. Hautala rode the momentum from the three and added several buckets to start the fourth. The Tigers again went back up by double figures, 71-60. Kelly Walsh made one final late run but solid play by Hautala, McMurtrey and Kael Mikkelsen iced the game and preserved a perfect conference record with the 81-73 win.
Hautala finished with 34 points to lead Rock Springs while Kramer finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Mikkelsen added six but had several key assists down the stretch for the Tigers.
Rock Springs will play Natrona on Saturday with the Lady Tigers opening at 1 p.m. The Fillies enter with a 4-0 conference record and ranked third in the state. Natrona beat Green River on Friday. The Mustangs enter with a 1-3 conference record and a loss to Green River on Friday.
Rock Springs High School
sports coverage is brought to you by these amazing sponsors: