Kalvin Erickson drives around a Farson-Eden player. (Photo by Angie Erickson)

The Meeteetse boys basketball team traveled to Farson last weekend for a non-conference matchup against the No. 2 Farson-Eden Pronghorns.

It was a hard-fought game, but Meeteetse couldn’t pick up its first win of the season and lost 54-33 in a game that was a rematch of the state football championship.

“You couldn’t deny that everybody in there was thinking about it, that’s for sure,” coach Zeb Hagen said. “I was proud that they fought with them all the way to the end.”

The first half of the game went back-and-forth, with neither team able to build an advantage. The Longhorns (0-5) cleaned up some of their early-season mistakes and kept turnovers low even with heavy pressure from a swarming Farson defense. That kept the score tight against the hot-shooting Pronghorns (4-1), who rained in early 3s against the Longhorns zone. Farson went into the break with a one-point lead, 23-22.

“We are improving each game, and I’m happy with the direction we are going,” senior Dale McBride said.

Meeteetse came out strong in the second half, rattling off four straight points in the early going to take a three-point lead, but the Pronghorns defense clamped down and forced turnovers that led to fast-break buckets.

They went on a 21-2 run in the fourth quarter to ice the game.

Avenging the state championship loss wasn’t necessarily the focus for the Longhorns, but it was something they put some thought into.

“Going into it, we all knew they were going to be a good team,” junior Dace Bennett said. “They had a solid group of athletes from football that we knew were going to be good in basketball as well, but we knew we could compete with them no matter what. It’s a lot harder to play against bigger teams when they can sub as many kids in and out as they can to keep kids fresh.”

McBride led the team in scoring once again, an efficient 13 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor. He also led the team in rebounding, pulling down nine boards.

In a bright spot for the Longhorns, freshman Ethan Salzman made his first varsity start – filling in for senior Tozai May – and knocked down a three in the first quarter. Though he was held scoreless after that, Hagen had high praise for the freshman.

“I think he played really well,” he said. “I think he’s getting more and more confidence offensively. Defensively, I think he’s getting better...He’s got to trust what he can do defensively. It mostly just takes heart to play defense, it takes a bit for them to figure it out. I think he’s on that path.”

The Longhorns will look to regroup and get their first win when they head to Ten Sleep to take on Arvada-Clearmont (1-1) in another non-conference 1A matchup. Tip-off is 2:30 p.m. Saturday. They’ll follow up that game with an interclass matchup on Tuesday with the Powell JV squad.

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