Basketball off to Mostly Successful Start


SKY WALKERS: Five Braves participated in the dunk contest at the Flaming Gorge Tournament. Senior Taft McClure came out with the win. “It is fun to be one of the youngest kids there. I’m glad that a Star Valley kid could win for us,” said sophomore Taeson Johnson.

Cam Erickson and Luke Linford

The Braves basketball team went to Riverton over the weekend of December 8-10 and came back with three wins and only one loss to continue their strong start this season.

The first game at the center of the state came against Laramie, and the Braves got off to a slow start, coming up short 64-56. “I think where we struggled in this game was running our offenses efficiently; there is a lot of new things this year with the new coaching staff, but once we got them down it went great,” said senior Luke Linford.

The next morning the varsity team traveled the short trip over to Lander to face off against the Tigers. This game ended with an easy win for the Braves 51-39. Linford lead the team in scoring with 16 points. They played the next came against Cheyenne South and cruised to a 30 point dub. Senior Jacob Hodges put up 16 points and said that it felt good to push the ball. “Our transition offensive was stellar, and we were able to score in bunches.”

To wrap the weekend up the Braves squared up against the Sheridan Broncs. The team came out hot and kept a lead the whole game. Despite the Broncs best efforts, it never got very close. The Braves, led by Taft McClure with 15 points, won 58-43 . “We finally started to play unselfish ball, and we started passing and rotating the ball. They had good shooters, so we played in-your-face defense which worked to our advantage because they didn’t really have a paint presence,” said McClure. He said they knew Sheridan was going to come out tough and they just had to come out even tougher.

The Braves played next on Friday December 16th against the Natrona High Mustangs at the Flaming Gorge Tournament. The Braves won this game 67-43 brining their record to 4-1. with only one loss and four wins. Hodges leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.8 per game with McClure the leading scorer averaging with 12.3 per game. The Braves will play next over Christmas break at the Skyline Tournament.

The Lady Braves also kicked off their season in Riverton and turned in a pretty solid performance beating Lander and Cheyenne South and dropping games to Sheridan and Laramie. Both Sheridan and Laramie are ranked highly in the 4A classification according to WyoPreps. Cameron Erickson led the team in scoring by averaging 15.3 points over the first weekend of play.

At Flaming Gorge the girls started the week off by playing one of the top 3A teams in Lyman. This game was close the whole time with the Lady Braves falling short by just one point. “We have so much potential if we can just figure out how to lessen our turnovers,” said junior Kenlee Engelhardt.

The girls know what they have to fix it is just a matter of executing. Their next opponent was Thunder Basin, a top 4A girls team expected to be pretty good this season. The Lady Braves came out competitively and kept the game close the whole time unitl towards the end of the fourth quarter when things started to fall apart. Fouling sent Thunder to the free throw line and the game came down to the last few seconds, but shots would not fall in favor of the Lady Braves, leaving the girls with another tough loss.

To end the long weekend in Rock Springs, the girls had one more game against Rawlins they won by over 20 points. Engelhardt scored 14 points in the big win. There is potential for the girls to win the majority of games ahead in their schedule.

Basketball abounds in the months ahead for the Braves and Lady Braves. Come support them as they fight for wins and ultimately a place in the state tournament.