Dec 5, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorDespite going winless at the Thermopolis Invitational Friday and Saturday, first-year head boys basketball St. Stephen's coach Ricky Blackburn thought his players made steady progress in the tournament.
The Eagles fell to Tongue River 70-52 in the first game of the season.
"Tongue River is a pretty disciplined basketball team," Blackburn said. "We didn't do very well on the boards in the first game. We didn't box out well. We got killed on the boards."
Mountain View beat Class 1-A St. Stephen's 53-43, while Thermopolis downed the Eagles 72-64. Tongue River and Thermopolis both play in the Class 2-A division. Mountain View is in the 3-A ranks.
"The one thing that we improved the most was the rebounding," Blackburn said. "We rebounded a lot better against the bigger Mountain View team. They were a lot taller than us."
Blackburn said the Eagles played zone defense to help the rebounding department then when SSHS fell behind they went to man-to-man.
"We played zone to try and protect Cole Littleshield and Lakota Oldman," Blackburn said.
Littleshield exploded against Thermopolis with a career-high 39 points.
"Thermopolis was small," Blackburn said. "They really didn't have a true forward. They mostly have five guards that are starting. They were fast. I called plays for College because he has a strong presence inside."
Tanner Abbott stole the show for Thermopolis, scoring 45 points in the victory.
In the same game, Oldman was called for two technical fouls.
"Brandon C'Hair really stepped up and came off the bench against Thermopolis," Blackburn said.
Oldman had 10 points in the final game of the tournament.
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