Fans eager for the NBA Finals to kick off got a taste of what they could see in the coming weeks at the annual Donkey Basketball FFA gathering Tuesday night at the Sweitzer Gym.
Cody High School’s combined boys ‘/ girls’ basketball team won 2-0 at night, beating the reigning champions of the law enforcement / search and rescue team to relinquish the title.
In Game 1, the CHS staff should have gotten points, just to get up on their respective donkeys, but they did not need the extra help as they used a physical attack to surprise the FFA members and defeat the teens by 17-14 .
CHS special education teacher and trainer Sam Buck looked like a donkey whisperer to start things off, converting into a pair of easy buckets while guiding his ride all the way up to the rim at will.
“I’ve been practicing,” Buck said. “You just have to talk to them properly.”
FFA member and club reporter Sage Ellsbury shot his donkey down the floor and answered Buck with his own bucket to pull the FFA students to a 4-2 basket.
“The game plan was to learn to ride the donkey, how to guide it and make some curves,” Ellsbury said. “I did not get any shooting training or donkey riding. We saw the donkeys and organized the rest. ”
Fillie’s basketball coach and sports teacher Chris Wagner got a feed from Buck midway through the first half, bringing the CHS staff up 8-4.
Wagner scored again as CHS staff bullied their way to losing balls and stealing, after which the two-time state coach fired a shot from the depths of the buzzer to help build a comfortable 13-6 lead at the break.
“I did not expect the physical game at all,” Ellsbury said. “Wagner totally beat me. I did not expect that. “
In the second half, even the donkeys had had enough of the aggressive play of the CHS staff, as trade teacher Mark Landerman’s horse almost beat the teacher, but the staff was relentless until the last buzzer.
CHS PE teacher and football coach Matt McFadden helped the staff build a 15-8 lead on a rush to line up midway through the half.
The FFA students cut the lead late, but the CHS staff held on to the 17-14 victory.
“It was a bang,” Buck said. “I felt like we did not get the calls at all. I think the judges felt a little bad for them when we were up a lot.”
Match two played the CHS Fillies / Broncs basketball team against the Park County Sheriff’s Department / Search and Rescue team.
As comfortable as the Broncs and Fillies looked on the basketball court this season, they looked just as uncomfortable on the backs of donkeys.
Bronc basketball player Kam Niemann seemed to have found his breath to start things off when he and his donkey got CHS on the board with two quick baskets.
However, law enforcement and the search and rescue team quickly reduced the lead to 4-2.
Filly basketball player Ally Boysen seemed to have trouble staying on top of her mountain throughout the first half, but refuted rumors the police cheated her by smearing the back of her ass.
“I’m fine,” Boysen said. “It just kept angling down. I do not know what happened.”
After a 4-4 draw in the first half, law enforcement took a quick 6-4 lead in the second half before Niemann and his donkey joined a lay-in to equalize, while an assist from Kennedi Niemann to Molly Hays put CHS- held up 8-4.
However, Kennedy Niemann was only credited with half an assist as she had to share it with her donkey, who was not really much help to the junior all evening.
Izzy Radakovich and Kam Niemann converted late to help the CHS pull away and upset the champs 12-8 in a result that no one saw coming.
In the championship game, Kam Niemann got off to a warm start again to get the basketball team early ahead against the staff.
The basketball team clearly had the advantage of getting off and on their asses, but the staff again continued their physical playing style, keeping the basketball team at just two points in the first half but not scoring themselves.
A bad throw in the center circle resulted in coach Wagner jumping out of Robby Porter as the CHS staff took control to start the second half.
Wilkins Radakovich blew up an opportunity for a connection from Radakovich to Radakovich, missing a shot on a perfect pass set up by Sister Izzy.
It was one of many failed shots by Wilkins Radakovich at night until the basketball player redeemed himself with a winning shot with time as the CHS basketball team took down the staff in a close 4-2 victory for the championship.
“Yes!” said Wilkins Radakovich. “I finally have one left.”
It may not have been the NBA Finals, but a large crowd helped raise money for the FFA, and the staff got some frustration beyond the students.
“Donkey basketball has been around for a while,” Buck said. “But I think it’s about to go big time.”