Sophomore Parker Paxton found a lane down the middle against Star Valley in Riverton Saturday. (photo by Carl Cote)

BY: SHAWN O’BRATE

STAFF WRITER

CHEYENNE – The Riverton Wolverines (5-2) and Lady Wolverines (1-6) entered the weekend looking for victories over some of the toughest opponents in the state at the annual Taco John’s Invitational. 

If you read the Fremont County Sports pages this past weekend you would have seen that the Wolverines dethroned the home team Cheyenne Central Indians, 63-58, who entered the weekend 6-0 and fighting for first place in the 4A Southeast division. Meanwhile, the girls lost to the same home team Lady Indians by a score of 57-31 which shoved the Lady Wolverines down to 1-7 on the season and the Lady Indians up to 7-0. 

The two days that followed saw Riverton’s boys continue to show why they are going to be one of the more dominant teams in all of 4A while the girls are still trying to find their identity on the court. 

On Friday Riverton took on 3A’s Wheatland and defeated them by 16 points, 50-34, thanks to yet another strong game by junior Parker Paxton who finished the game with 20 points, the only Wolverine to finish in double figures. 

Paxton shot 75% from three-point range while the rest of the Wolverines did a good job finding open shots and finishing strong underneath the basket. Senior Jason Vincent also shot well from beyond the arc, going three-for-five (60%), to bring his point total to nine points. 

As for the girls, they did not have as good of a night against Wheatland as they lost 43-26 after some poor shooting and a flurry of costly turnovers. Lady Wolverine junior Paizley Jackson led the team with 10 points at the end of the loss while teammate Hailey Engstrom finished with four points and seven rebounds in an attempt to try and get Riverton that illustrious second win of the season. 

The next day the boys and girls took on the Natrona County Mustangs (5-4) and Lady Mustangs (6-4) which proved to be a difficult task for both Riverton teams. 

The girls started first and had one of their most complete games of the season in the first half. They held Natrona to only 19 points in that first half while putting up 23 themselves, leading to one of their first halftime leads of the season. Riverton’s third quarter woes continued though, giving up 21 points while only being able to score four before the fourth quarter would begin. 

In the fourth quarter the Lady Mustangs would pour it on as the Lady Wolverines would flounder on offense and defense. They would end up losing to Natrona 62-34, going 0-3 on the weekend. After leading by four at halftime the girls would get outscored 43-11. 

Jackson would once again lead the Lady Wolverines with 13 points, McAye Fegler would also play a huge role as she set the tone in the first half on defense but only ended up with six points. 

The boys once again leaned on Paxton for their game against the Mustangs as he finished the game with a team-high 22 points on 55% shooting, but this game would also see multiple Wolverines reach double-digits in the point bracket. 

Vincent finished with 10 points and junior Derrick DeVries returned to form, scoring 17 off 56% shooting. The whole team did extremely well from the free throw line, going 15-of-21 (71.4%) from the charity line, with Paxton (seven-of-eight) shooting 88% and DeVries (four-of-six) shooting 67%. 

Junior Darrick DeVries had a dominant performance in Riverton’s victory over Laramie Friday. (photo by Carl Cote)

Natrona actually led the Wolverines after one quarter, 15-13, but Riverton would tie it up going into the half with a score of 21-21. After that the two teams were back-and-forth, scoring 15 a piece in the third which set up a dramatic fourth quarter. 

In that quarter a technical foul by Natrona’s Colton Rogers, followed by another technical foul by the Mustangs, sent Paxton to the free throw line where he increased the Wolverines’ lead from four to seven, essentially ending the game with 70 seconds left on the clock. 

The Wolverines would keep that lead till the final horn and win 57-50, ending the weekend 3-0 and strongly securing themselves atop the 4A Northwest class at 8-2 on the season. 

Up next for both teams is a trip to Cheyenne East on Thursday, January 13, to take on the Thunderbirds (8-2) and Lady Thunderbirds (9-0) before hosting Cody’s Broncs (3-4) and Lady Broncs (7-0) on Saturday afternoon. Both games can be viewed on WyoToday’s YouTube page as well as listened to live on 93.9 KTAK. 

GO RIVERTON!