Cokeville Girls Basketball Coach Ben Barnes Talks Panthers Regional Win
On Friday Dahl and Aaron were joined by special guest Ben Barnes the head coach of the Cokeville Lady Panthers Basketball team who have been rolling as of late. The girls defeated Burlington 54-52 in a thriller over Burlington to take home the 1A West regional title before heading off the State where, before this interview took place the girls were 1-0 in the state tournament for the 1A level.
The Panthers had dominated both of their previous matchups in the tournament before getting to the finals where they best Burlington in a thriller which has actually been much more to Cokeville’s style this particular season. Part of the teams reason for being in close games so consistently may be up to the fact that while very talented the team is unbelievably young for a team with championship credentials as 7 of the teams 12 rostered players are freshmen and as Coach Barnes points out have had to make significant contributions this year with several times this season the team having 5 freshmen on the court at the same time.
Burlington was a phenomenal test of things to come in the state tournament as Coach Barnes states in the interview with them being one of only 2 teams with a high scoring offense than the Panthers this year but the tall task didn’t daunt upon Cokeville as they were down 1 at the half but battled hard in the 2nd half and pulled off the close contest and earned the right to be a 1 seed from the West heading into state. A big part of the Cokeville offensive prowess this season has been the long ball as the team ranks top 3 in the state in 3-point shooting including #1 and #2 individually in 1A with the 2 Dayton girls, Mia and Tyleigh, which has really provided a huge spark at times this year.
In the opening round of the state tournament Cokeville took it to Rock River as they threatened to double-up the Longhorns the night before the interview took place by the score of 61-36. Speaking to the youth of the team as well, in the regional finals against Burlington the team had most of the upperclassmen on the bench thanks to foul-outs and finished the game with 4 freshmen on the court “nobody tell them they are freshmen” Coach Barnes joked about the younger players stepping up and taking home the tight W.
The team ended up falling to eventual champions Upton 47-46 in the closest game of the tournament before Upton then went on to dominate Southeast in the championship game, meanwhile Cokeville had a rematch with Burlington in the 3rd place game but took out some frustrations for dropping the 1 point contest to Upton by pounding their regionals finals opponent 64-47 in the rematch. You can catch the full interview with Coach Barnes right below: