It wasn’t always pretty, but the Hot Springs boys’ basketball team was able to hold off Upton, Wyoming, for the West River Invitational title Saturday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic center, 65-55.
“Upton is really fast and athletic, and with our foul trouble, I was really proud of the way our bench played and carried us through when we got in that trouble,” Bison coach Aaron Noteboom said. “I thought in the beginning of the game Upton came out and kind of hit us in the mouth, and we really had to wake up when the second half came to match their intensity.”
The loss drops Upton to 8-2 on the season.
“They found our Achillies heel, size is not our strength, so they did a great job of getting it into their big guy,” Upton coach Joe Samuelson said. “They handled our pressure better, they made some adjustments and started playing some good basketball.”
Hot Springs took an early 12-9 lead, and in the second quarter, both offenses got going.
It was Upton that walked into the locker room at halftime with the lead, as it outscored Hot Springs 22-14. The Bobcats were able to end the half with a lay-up at the buzzer.
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In the third quarter, Hot Springs hit back by scoring the first seven points to take a 33-31 lead. By the end of the quarter the lead would be 48-44.
Upton was able to hang around, but in the end Hot Springs hit some big free throws and held off the Bobcats, outscoring them 15-9 in the fourth quarter.
Hot Springs was led by Logan Gooder, who had 22 points, including big free throws down the stretch. Kelton Harris and Thane Lockhart also had 11 for the Bison.
Payton Watt had 16 points and Dillion Barritt kicked in 14 for the Bobcats.
Hot Springs (4-5) hosts Belle Fourche Friday while Upton takes on Moorcroft, Wyo.