By: Shawn O’Brate

FREMONT COUNTY – Plenty of basketball was played this past weekend, some of which took place far away, but one tournament that took place right here in Fremont County was the annual Foothills Classic in both Pavillion and Ethete. 

Wyoming Indian High School (WIHS) put their intimidating basketball teams on the court against the likes of Wright, Big Horn and Tongue River while their in-county rivals, St. Stephens, also played on the Chiefs’ home court. 

While the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs showed why they are always so feared in 2A basketball, the Wind River Cougars and Lady Cougars also hosted teams as part of the Foothills Classic that takes place in Fremont County. 

The Chiefs would start off the weekend strong with a three-point win over Wright after the game was tied 63-63 with 33 seconds left in the game. A great inbound pass to freshman Adriano Brown under the basket put the Chiefs up 65-63, causing the Wright Panthers to panic and eventually throw the ball away. 

Wright would go on to foul WIHS until the Chiefs won 68-65, beating the Panthers by three after losing to the Panthers just six days earlier by three. The win capped off an amazing night for the WIHS team as they finally were able to put fans in the stands for their classic “Chiefs Chant” for the first time in two years.

“That was the most awesomest feeling,” Chiefs head coach Craig Ferris said about the loud fans. “It gave us the energy that I think we needed to finish off the game the way that we did.”

That same night the Lady Chiefs would get right back to where they have been the past few years as they handled the Wright Lady Panthers by forty points in a blowout win, 72-32. 

Layla C’Bearing took a shot under the basket Friday in Ethete. (p/c Carl Cote)

The next day would be a tough challenge for both teams, especially the boys’ team as they had to take on two of the top-five teams in the division in Big Horn and Tongue River.

Coach Ferris’ Chiefs had their work cut out for them but they kept themselves in the game against Big Horn with plenty of free throw attempts, shooting eight-of-eleven from the line in the first half. Everytime the Chiefs started to get close the Big Horn Rams would stretch their lead even more. WIHS would lose 70-56 at the end of the day. 

The Lady Chiefs had a much easier time against Big Horn as they went back-and-forth with the Lady Rams until midway through the second quarter when the Lady Chiefs and junior Taline Tendore who finished with 19 points in the 80-38 blowout over Big Horn. 

Then, just a few hours after their games, both teams took on Tongue River who had a solid weekend against everybody except for the Lady Chiefs. 

Tongue River took care of the Chiefs 84-54 thanks to struggling defensive pressure by Coach Ferris’ boys, but the girls team had the toughest challenge as they took on Coach Aleta Moss’ strong Lady Chiefs.

Jason Slowbear went up for a layup against Wright Friday in Ethete. (p/c Carl Cote)

The Lady Chiefs would not trail after going down 3-2 early in the first quarter. The big scorer of the game was junior Shye Killsontop who finished with 28 points with five three-pointers helping boost that score higher and higher. 

Coach Moss’ Lady Chiefs would finish the weekend undefeated and 6-1 on the season while the boys finish the weekend 1-2, equaling a 3-3 start for Coach Ferris’ team.

Over on the Pavillion side of the Foothills Classic, the Wind River Cougars started out tough by beating the Tongue River team that beat both St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian. 

They beat the Tongue River Eagles by a score of 70-62 before almost beating the Big Horn Rams’ team but ultimately falling short by one point (49-48). After that the Cougars’ lives didn’t get any easier as they needed to beat Wright but couldn’t come up with the comeback as they fell 62-51. 

The Lady Chief bench cheered for Wyoming Indian basket Friday in Ethete. (p/c Carl Cote)

As for the Lady Cougars, they tried to stay competitive early in the tournament but let both Tongue River and Big Horn drop 49 points on them. This would not be that bad if the Lady Cougars scored more than 49 but, instead, they only put up 35 against Tongue River and 38 against Big Horn. 

Their luck would change though, pulling out a tough victory to close out their home tournament against Wright by just two points (40-38).

For more scores from the Foothills Classic and more games around Fremont County be sure to check out page B3 of the Fremont County Sports pages.