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Thunder Basin rides scoring surge past South

Apr. 27—CHEYENNE — Senior midfielder DeMarcus Contreras recently returned to Cheyenne South's lineup after suffering a left knee injury late in a practice last week.

On Friday night, the Bison's defensive anchor suffered a right ankle injury while challenging for a ball along the sideline mere minutes into a match with visiting Thunder Basin. Contreras' game-ending injury was a precursor of things to come for an already short-handed South squad.

Just about anything that could go wrong for the Bison did during a 5-0 loss to the Bolts.

South was already down four starters before Contreras' injury due to injuries, illness and college visits. The Bison had several players forced into larger roles than they were accustomed.

"It was a tough night, and I knew it was going to be a little bit of a tough night," South coach Joshua Eastman said. "We brought some kids up from JV and they played well. Braeden Salinas stepped up in his first career start and played well.

"Aiden (Mitchell) played well and kept us in the game. We had some promising attacks, but we have to stay together and get healthy."

Thunder Basin (7-3-2 Overall, 5-3-2 Class 4A East) got on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute when both junior Irvin Cabrera and sophomore Boone Roswadovski ended up behind South's defense. Cabrera got a shot past Bison goalkeeper Aiden Mitchell for a 1-0 lead.

The Bolts went up 2-0 in the 24th when senior German Burriel put a centering pass from sophomore Diego Baeza past Mitchell. Sophomore Hunter Fitzgerald scored an unassisted marker for a 3-0 lead in the 28th.

In the 37th, senior Ricardo Ruiz dropped a direct kick from 43 yards away from the goal behind all of the players crowded into the penalty area. The ball bounced to Mitchell's right and just under the crossbar for a 4-0 Thunder Basin advantage.

Bolts sophomore Alex Mothersole added a fifth goal in the 62nd minute.

Mitchell posted 13 saves for the Bison (1-11, 0-10).

Thunder Basin got 17 of its 25 shots in the first half. It also got seven of its 18 shots on goal in the opening 40 minutes. The decreased chances were a result of South getting used to playing a sweeper-stopper defense and executing it better in the second half, sophomore Mario Rojas said.

"Everyone needed to mark up and not follow the ball," Rojas said. "When they follow the ball, they were confusing (each other) and the other team had space for shots or passes. Everyone needed to pick a player and mark up.

"We were better when we marked up.

THUNDER BASIN 5, SOUTH 0

Halftime: 4-0.

Goals: Thunder Basin, Cabrera (Roswadovski), 22. Thunder Basin, Burriel (Baeza), 24. Thunder Basin, Fitzgerald (unassisted), 28. Thunder Basin, Ruiz (direct kick), 37. Thunder Basin, Mothersole, 62.

Shots: Thunder Basin 25, South 3. Shots on goal: Thunder Basin 18, South 3. Saves: Thunder Basin 3 (Clabaugh); South 13 (Mitchell).

Corner kicks: Thunder Basin 3, South 0. Offsides: Thunder Basin 4, South 0. Fouls: Thunder Basin 4, South 9. Yellow cards: South 2 (Garcia, 67. Hart, 67).

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Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on X at @jjohnke.