Braves Surprise Doubters with Successful Season

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SWATTED: Senior Tristen Kleeman swats away a layup from a Cheyenne East player.

JaAren Smith, staff writer

The arrival of spring meant the end of winter sports. Many exciting things took place this basketball season that started with five seniors who had never started a varsity game before this season.

Thanks to a strong senior class, this year’s seniors  got very little time their junior year. Starting on the big stage was definitely new to these five gritty seniors, but with help from their junior classmates, this team showed a lot of people how good they were and shut up all the haters. “I’m gonna miss ballin with the boys , and my favorite part of state was beating East even though people thought we couldn’t,” said senior Tristen Kleeman.

STEAL: Senior Tristen Kleeman lays up a ball he stole against Cheyenne East in their first state game. Kleeman, one of the leading scorers this season, hopes to continue on in basketball but doesn’t know where and when.

Many doubted this team’s ability to win at the state tournament, but by beating East in the first round they advanced to the second round where they lost to Thunder Basin. “Beating East and stopping Gradyn Buell [Cheyenne East player] was the highlight of my tournament experience ,but I’m gonna miss going on these trips with the boys when I’m gone,” said senior Zach Johnson. The Braves then had to face Gillette in their finals game where they ended up short to claim fourth at the state tournament.

SECURE: Senior Brant Nelson drives the ball down the court against Thunder Basin. Nelson was a key part of the Braves offense all year, and will play football in the Shrine Bowl this spring. “Basketball was great, but football is my favorite,” said Nelson.

As the winter ended, replaced by warm spring weather, the Braves basketball program showed once again that they can compete at state, even as one of the smallest 4A schools in attendance.