WRHS BOYS BASKETBALL: Lions roar past White River in boys hoop action

By John Leggett

The Courier-Herald

The White River High boys basketball team walked into its locker room Friday night after a sure-thing victory deteriorated into a 79-72 screaming nightmare of a loss to Auburn Mountainview.

A shaky beginning had White River supporters wondering if their Hornets were ever going to erase the zero on their side of the score board.

To their credit, the Hornets managed to draw to within two points at the close of the first quarter, trailing 17-15.

The deadeye shooting of the Hornets’ Jason Tyler bolstered White River in the second frame and by the break, the Hornets held what seemed to be an insurmountable stranglehold on the Lions as they had jumped out to a 38-25 advantage thanks to Tyler, Chad Sayler, Billy Kiel and A.J. Rice, who between them, accounted for 58 of the Hornets’ eventual 72 points.

After intermission, the plot thickened as Auburn Mountainview whittled the Hornet lead to a paltry seven points by the end of the third period.

In the fourth quarter, things got considerably worse as the Lions went 10-for-11 from the floor and the Hornets sent Michael Patenaude to the charity stripe a dozen times and he made eight. He finished with 30 points.

During a three-possession stage of the fourth period with about five minutes remaining, the Lions scored 10 points, which featured a four-point play by Patenaude who bombed in a trey and was mugged in the process. The Lions more than doubled up on the Hornets in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 33-16.

“When we came back against Clover Park three nights before, we showed some real grit and battled back from a lousy start to win 60-51,” first-year coach Rick Tripp said. That led to high hopes when the Lions visited.

But when the Lions had the momentum flowing, “those darn negative thoughts of self doubt, that some of these kids had experienced last season, began to creep in again,” he said. “I could see it in their faces.”

White River traveled to Lakes High Tuesday, with results coming too late to report here; results will be posted at

White River’s cagers will play their last league game prior to the holidays Thursday against Franklin Pierce.

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