By Andrew Towne
CASPER – The Wheatland High School boys’ basketball team capped off the season with a fourth-place finish in the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament in Casper over the weekend.
The No. 2-seeded Bulldogs needed a big second half during Thursday’s opening round to knock off the Worland Warriors, 46-38.
Wheatland’s Luke Anderson tied the game at two with just under five minutes to play in the opening quarter, but Worland went on a 7-0 spurt over the next three minutes.
Anderson slowed the Warrior run with a minute to go in the quarter with a 3-pointer, but Worland held on to a 11-5 lead after eight minutes to play.
In the second quarter, treys by Mytchell Pollock and Kobey Preuit tied the game at 11 midway through the quarter, but once again, Worland pulled away with a 9-1 run to end the first half of play.
However, in the second half, the game belonged to the Bulldogs.
Wheatland outscored Worland 34-18 over the final 16 minutes of the game to advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.
Anderson led the team with 13 points, while Pollock added 11 points and Preuit 10.
The win setup a showdown top-seeded Lander Valley Tigers.
The Tigers jumped out to a 19-10 lead, but in the second quarter, Wheatland held Lander Valley to a single point.
With the scored tied at 20 at halftime, the teams traded buckets, playing to a 34-34 tie with eight minutes play in the game.
In the final frame, Lander Valley pulled away for the 48-42 victory to advance to the 3A state title game while dropping the Bulldogs to the third-place contest.
The Tigers shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half, while Wheatland shot 34 percent.
Pollock and Preuit led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 each.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs squared off with 3A East Conference foe Buffalo.
Buffalo outscored Wheatland 37-12 in the middle two quarters to pull away for a 56-43 win.
The teams played to an 8-8 tie after a quarter, but the Bison scored 19 in the second quarter and 18 in the third to take a commanding 45-20 lead into the final quarter of the season.
The Bulldogs managed to cut into the deficit over the final eight minutes, outscoring the Bison 23-11.
Anderson led Wheatland with 14 points, while Preuit added 11. Pollock and Clayton Iacovetto tossed in six each.
The Bulldogs finished the season with an 11-16 record.