Red Devils fall to Cody, Riverton on road

The longest road trip of the season for the Evanston boys’ basketball team also proved to be one of its most demanding, as losses to Cody Friday and No. 2 Riverton Saturday have the Red Devils thankful to be back home for two of their remaining three games this season.

Evanston (4-14, 1-2 in 4A SW Quadrant) opened the weekend against the Broncs (8-8, 1-3 in 4A NW Quadrant), a team that’s been difficult to get a read on this season. A slow start doomed the Red Devils early in this contest, as Cody cruised to a 76-43 win.

“Against Cody, we came out slow — their size and athleticism had us thinking too much, rather than playing the way we needed to,” said EHS head coach Rob Watsabaugh. “We made some adjustments, and started playing a little bit better, started knocking down some shots.”

Saturday against Riverton (16-2, 3-0 in 4A NW Quadrant) was another story, as the Red Devils played inspired ball against one of the top teams in the state in 4A, before falling 56-43.

“Against Riverton, for turning around and playing them in 18 hours, I thought we did a pretty good job — we mixed up some defenses, tried to keep some of their guys in check,” Watsabaugh said. “Not quite enough in the tank, but we did play better on Saturday.”

The Red Devils began their final run through the 4A Southwest Quadrant Thursday at Green River (3-13, 0-3 in 4A SW Quadrant), and will host Star Valley (10-8, 2-1 in 4A SW Quadrant) Saturday; Evanston will close out the regular season next Saturday at home against Jackson.

“We watched our Green River film — some things that we did well, some things that we can improve upon,” Watsabaugh said. “We’re competing in practice, making each other better. We’re doing a lot of individual work, a lot of individual offensive and defensive drills to keep us fresh and hitting shots — guarding people, blocking out, rebounding. We’ve had a good week of practice, as far as competing and keeping that spirit up, continuing to fight through tough things.”

Cody 76,

Red Devils 43

Friday’s game at Cody got off to an inauspicious start for the Red Devils, as the Broncs went on a 17-0 run to open the game, and led 24-5 after a quarter of play. Evanston kept it close for the next three quarters, but were unable to make a dent in the first-quarter lead, falling 76-43.

“We talked as a team about not letting doubt creep into our minds, and I think we did that Friday against Cody,” Watsabaugh said. “I thought we did a better job Saturday of controlling what we could control, and going out and just playing the game.”

Bryton Smith led the Red Devils with 20 points, including five shots from behind the arc and the game’s only dunk. Cohen Morrow followed with six points, while Jordan Mendez and Jay Hill added five points apiece. Kai Barker added four points, while Clayton Cook rounded out the scoring with three points.

“Against Cody, I thought we shot the ball well,” Watsabaugh said. “We didn’t rebound well — there were some things that we were doing in practice that we didn’t do. But I think after the game, just recollecting ourselves, I thought we did a pretty good job of that — understanding what we need to do, why we’re not doing them and addressing some of those issues.”

Riverton 56,

Red Devils 43

Saturday’s game against Riverton featured a quicker start by the Red Devils, though they still trailed by 12 at the half, 32-20. Evanston kept pace with the Wolverines in the second half, but were unable to cut into the lead, falling to the home team 56-43.

“I thought we had a good turnaround against Riverton — we played pretty well,” Watsabaugh said. “Some things didn’t go our way, but we were competing. I think our guys saw that what we have — and what we’ve been doing — will work, and will win us some games. Moving forward, we’ll do that — we have three games left [in the regular season], so putting every possession for four quarters together is what we need to do here in the next two weeks, and I think we’re getting closer to that.”

Bryton Smith again paced the Red Devils with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Clayton Cook and Jordan Mendez finished with eight points apiece, while Cohen Morrow and Jay Hill chipped in five points each. Kai Barker had four points, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds and five assists.