THS boys battle adversity to qualify for state tournament

Andrew Towne
Posted 3/8/23

TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team had to play five games in four days to qualify for this weekend’s state basketball tournament

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THS boys battle adversity to qualify for state tournament


TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team had to play five games in four days to qualify for this weekend’s state basketball tournament.

The Blazers had to reschedule the game at Rawlins four times before they finally got it in on Wednesday – the day before regionals was scheduled to get underway.

With seeding on the line for the regional tournament, Torrington picked up a 58-57 overtime victory.

“I’m extremely proud of the kids,” THS coach Logan Barker said. “Coming into regionals, they had a not-so-great situation trying to get to Rawlins. It was a long and strenuous week. It challenged them mentally and physically. They went into Rawlins and took care of business when there was a lot of odds against them.”

Barker added the win at Rawlins helped propel the team to this weekend’s state tournament, as the win earned the Blazers a No. 2 seed for the regional tournament.

“The amount of leadership and grit they showed set the tone for the rest of the weekend,” Barker said.

Once regionals finally rolled around, Torrington opened the weekend with a 61-34 victory over the Moorcroft Wolves.

Leading 15-9 after eight minutes, the Blazers held the Wolves to only two points in the second quarter. By halftime, Torrington led 25-11.

Over the remainder of the game, Torrington extended its lead by an additional 13 points to pull away for the quarterfinal round win.

THS senior Ryan Baker led the team with 15 points, while sophomore Ned Nelson and senior Skyler Sargent had 12 each. Freshman Landre Greiman had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

In the semifinal round, Torrington fell to the Buffalo Bison, 59-36.

“It was really cool to be on the semifinal stage,” Barker said. “It was the first time for a lot of those kids being in a position like that. Buffalo played really well, and we didn’t shoot super well.”

Nelson led the team with 12 points, while junior Adam Bartlett added eight. Sargent grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“We did everything we could to fight back into it, but it was a little rougher of a game,” Barker said. “We hope to see them again eventually at the state tournament. It was a big-time learning moment for our program and our kids.”

The loss dropped Torrington to a must-win game on Saturday morning against the Glenrock Herders and snapped a five-game winning streak.

The Blazers were 17-of-22 at the free throw line, and Barker said it was a key to the 53-43 victory.

“Free throws helped us a lot in this game,” he said. “They knew their backs were against the wall and the loser goes home. Especially in the fourth quarter, they really stepped up to the plate and decided to grind it out. It says a lot about our kids having to play five games in four days. All of those games are tough mentally and they all meant something.”

Greiman led the team with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Sargent and Nelson added 10 points each.

In the final game, Torrington squared off against rival Wheatland, and the Bulldogs earned the No. 3 seed with a 41-30 win over the Blazers.

Bartlett led the team in scoring with seven, while Nelson and Firminhac had six each.

Barker credits the team for reaching the state tournament for the first time since the 2019-20 season when the state tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.

“It’s 100% on the kids. They deserve every ounce of making it to state tournament because of how hard they worked throughout the season,” Barker said. “I couldn’t be more proud, especially those senior leaders – Ryan Baker, Skyler Sargent and Ben Firminhac. They went out and played their hearts out and the team followed them.”

Torrington will open the state tournament against the Worland Warriors at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Ford Wyoming Center.

“Worland is another very physical team. A lot of their kids are big, strong, football player-type kids. We’ll have to handle the physicality,” Barker said. “Our kids are starting to grow fond of being that ‘we are not supposed to be here’ type of team. There were a lot of teams in our conference – the east and the west – that didn’t think we deserved to go to the state tournament. They’re excited to be the four. They’re excited to play the No. 1 seed. The pressure is all on them. There is none on us. We are excited to play the best team in the west and hopefully we can go out and do something special.”