Desert Shields post up Spartans

Guard play has been the focal point for Cheyenne’s boys basketball team in recent years.

While the Desert Shields remain talented on the perimeter, their strength this season just might be on the inside.

Post players Jaylen Henry and Brian Organ combined for 36 points and 26 rebounds Tuesday night to power Cheyenne to a 79-61 Northwest League victory over visiting Cimarron-Memorial.

"We think (Henry) is probably the best big man in town, and Brian Organ has almost been a godsend for us by giving it so much heart and desire," Cheyenne coach Teral Fair said. "That’s the one thing that may separate us from a lot of teams around town, is our inside play."

The 6-foot-8-inch Henry scored 12 of his 21 points on put-backs and finished with 16 rebounds.

"It started with practice (Monday). We were working on our post moves," said Henry, who has signed with Eastern Washington. "The coaches helped us out a lot with what we needed to do."

The 6-7 Organ had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Cheyenne (14-6, 7-2), which stayed alone in second place in the Northwest.

Henry and Organ combined to score 18 of Cheyenne’s first 30 points, helping the Desert Shields jump to a 30-16 advantage.

"Our philosophy is always to get our inside guys going early," Fair said. "The more aggressive they are offensively, they tend to play defense a little harder and rebound a little harder.

"I think the final score is indicative of what can happen when both those guys are really active and playing at a high level."

The Desert Shields opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 44-24 lead, but Cimarron began clawing back.

The Spartans (15-7, 5-4) pulled within 51-45 on a put-back by Rico Garrett early in the fourth quarter, but they got no closer.

Khalid Banks scored 13 points for Cheyenne. Xavian Johnson contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Desert Shields.

Kevin Olekaibe scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half for Cimarron. He shot 12-for-16 on free throws.

Erik Brewer chipped in 11 points and six rebounds for the Spartans.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.

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