There's a group of hustlers and a group of athletes. As a result, Wyoming's high school all-star basketball coaches couldn't be happier heading into this weekend's hardwood clashes.

The state's top players take on teams from Montana and South Dakota in the annual series, beginning tonight in Sheridan. The Wyoming contingent faces the Treasure State at Sheridan College. The girls game is slated for 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 8, and the Mr. and Ms. Basketball honorees for the Cowboy State will also be named.

The teams play again in Billings, Mont., on Saturday, then Wyoming takes on the South Dakota all-stars in Gillette on Monday and in Spearfish, S.D., on Tuesday.

For the Montana series, the Wyoming teams will be led by Sheridan College's basketball coaches - Brian Marso (boys) and Frank McCarthy (girls).


Team Wyoming is dominated by the state's scrappiest players, who often ran or dove for loose balls that most players looked off. They just happen to be the Wyoming's best players in 2003, as well.

"When Wyoming is successful in this series is when we make hustle plays, doing the little things it takes to win," Marso said. "That's why this is a great group of guys. They are willing to give up themselves for the betterment of the team, and they are a scrappy group."

Few are as gladiatorial as the two point guards: Kelly Walsh's Ross Shaeffer and Lusk's Andy Kaman. Marso labeled them as "true leaders."

The backcourt includes the state's most athletic players - Tim Scheffler (Lovell), Brandon Gilbreath (Douglas), Luke Wicks (Gillette) and Devan Royer (Sheridan) - who paralyzed defenses with consistent perimeter play and post moves common in taller players.

"They're very versatile," Marso said. "That's our strength."

Wyoming's lane features a mix that is a basketball coach's dream. Chris Horn, who will play football at Stanford, out-muscled each of his opponents while at Tongue River. Wyoming Indian's Reland Ferris consistently drew defenders outside the basket and quickly shifted gears for easy layups. And Class 4A's twin towers - Natrona County's Trei Steward and Cody's Jake Hannon - have shooter's touches along with strong moves near the basket.

"We've got some bangers in there," Marso said.

The group's versatility has allowed the coaches to concentrate almost solely on game preparation.

"We treat it like a week-long camp for our (college) guys and treat them with the same discipline, respect and expectations," Marso said. "But it's not much of an adjustment for these guys. They're special and they're going the extra mile."

Overall, Wyoming is taller than Montana. However, one of the Treasure State's biggest players, Eric Michel, stands 6-foot-7 and will play football at the University of Montana. Two others - Nick Dissly from Bozeman and Carson Durr from Roberts - are headed to Montana State for basketball. Guard Brian Lynch of Great Falls will walk on at Montana.

"They're always very athletic and they always shoot the ball well," Marso said. "They always have strong, physical kids."

South Dakota is led by Paige Paulsen from Custer. Paulsen was the state's Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds. He earned a hoops scholarship to Northern Illinois.


McCarthy could have his best group of Wyoming all-stars since he's been at the head of the Sheridan College women's program. Much of the reason is Kristen Newlin.

The Stanford-bound Riverton standout could be the highest-profile female to play in the series. At 6-5, Newlin is the cherry on an basketball sundae overflowing with athleticism.

"The thing about this year's team is almost every one of them is going on scholarship for basketball or volleyball," McCarthy said. "That's a good sign. You know coming in the kids are committed and they've been working on their game."

The only player dropping the suffix from her student-athlete label is Burlington's Maria McNiven, but that was by choice. McNiven, much like Hannon on the boys' team, could have played at any Wyoming junior college and certainly could have entertained offers elsewhere. Instead, she will concentrate solely on the books at Brigham Young.

Three players will play at Division II schools, three at NAIA schools and two more at Wyoming junior colleges.

Newlin's sidekick in the post is Kelly Walsh's Tiffany Rochelle. McNiven and Cody's Megan Thompson will play forward.

Gillette's Amanda Walker and Sheridan's Jenna Jellison will split time at the point, while the shooting guards are Jessica Bratton (Natrona County), Dana Ball (Evanston) and Laurelle Irvine (Riverton).

"I think we've got a good mixture of size and quickness and they can get up the floor," McCarthy said. "I don't think we've had this much athleticism before. They're hard-working and coachable, and just a real good group to work with."

The Montana team features four Division I recruits and each will suit up for the Grizzlies next season. The group is led by 6-1 Amy Brooks from Helena, the state's top post player.

The northern team typically brings a load of D-I athletes to the series, but the number is down from last year's seven prospects.

"They're always strong, with the bulk of their girls going to Montana," McCarthy said. "They have good athleticism at guard."

South Dakota's roster boasts four Ms. Basketball finalists, and three of them are headed to D-II schools on scholarship - Shannon Daly from Groton, Rapid City Stevens' Lara Doshier and Laura Legge from Aberdeen Central.



At Sheridan College

Girls, Wyoming vs. Montana, 6 p.m.

Boys, Wyoming vs. Montana, 8 p.m.


At Rocky Mountain College (Billings, Mont.)

Girls, Wyoming vs. Montana, 6 p.m.

Boys, Wyoming vs. Montana, 8 p.m.


At North Gym, Gillette

Girls, Wyoming vs. South Dakota, 6 p.m.

Boys, Wyoming vs. South Dakota, 8 p.m.


At Spearfish (S.D.) High School

Girls, Wyoming vs. South Dakota, 6 p.m.

Boys, Wyoming vs. South Dakota, 8 p.m.



Reland Ferris 6-6 F/C 22.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg Wyoming Indian (Laramie County, basketball)

Brandon Gilbreath 6-4 G/F 18.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg Douglas (Casper College, basketball)

Jake Hannon 6-5 F/C 20.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg Cody (Michigan State)

Chris Horn 6-6 F/C 22.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg Tongue River (Stanford, football)

Andy Kaman 5-10 G 15.3 ppg, 6.0 apg Lusk (Wyoming)

Devan Royer 6-6 F/G 23.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg Sheridan (Sheridan College, basketball)

Ross Shaeffer 6-0 G 16.0 ppg, 4.0 apg Kelly Walsh (Colorado Mines, basketball)

Tim Scheffler 6-4 F/G 18.0 ppg, 4.2 apg Lovell (Northwest College, basketball)

Trei Steward 6-6 F/C 15.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg Natrona County (undecided)

Luke Wicks 6-3 G/F 21.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg Gillette (Northern State, basketball)

Against Montana: Wyoming trails 33-21. The teams split in 2002. Head coach: Brian Marso, Sheridan College. Assistant coach: Chad Winter, Sheridan College; Pat Neely, Wright.

Against South Dakota: Wyoming trails 13-9. The teams split in 2002. Head coach: Pat Neely, Wright. Assistant coach: Michael Curry, Gillette.


Nick Burgess, Rygate (Montana Tech); Zach Danelson, Great Falls Russell; Nick Dissly, Bozeman (Montana State); Carson Durr, Roberts (Montana State); Ryan Gomendi, Helena (Rocky Mountain); Bryan Lynch, Great Falls (Montana); Eric Michel, Billings West (Montana, football); Cooper Warren, Billings Central (Rocky Mountain); Jesse Younggren, Absarokee (Montana Tech).

Head coach: Al Walker, Absarokee. Assistant coach: Ron Marshall, Roberts.


Keaton Cummings, Rapid City Stevens; Josh Delahoyde, Spearfish; Nathan Graves, Mitchell Christian (Dakota Weslyan); Matt Lyndoe, Custer (South Dakota Mines); Paige Paulson, Custer (Northern Illinois, basketball); Blake Proefrock, Newell (Black Hills State); Kyle Schwan, Sturgis Brown (South Dakota Mines); Branden Swenson, Castlewood (Sioux Falls); Tanner Tetrault, Spearfish (Northern State).

Head coach: Dave Hollenbeck, Rapid City St. Thomas More. Assistant coach: Fred Paulson, Custer.



Dana Ball 5-10 G 17.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg Evanston (Mesa State, basketball)

Jessica Bratton 5-11 F 18.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg Natrona County (MSU-Billings, volleyball)

Laurelle Irvine 5-8 G 14.3 ppg, 2.7 apg Riverton (Minot State, basketball)

Jenna Jellison 5-7 G 11.0 ppg, 3.0 apg Sheridan (Dickinson State, basketball)

Maria McNiven 5-9 G/F 19.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg Burlington (Brigham Young)

Kristen Newlin 6-5 C/F 21.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg Riverton (Stanford, basketball)

Tiffany Rochelle 6-1 F/C 11.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg Kelly Walsh (Carroll, volleyball)

Megan Thompson 5-11 F 12.2 ppg, 11.4 rpg Cody (Laramie County, volleyball)

Amanda Walker 5-6 G 10.2 ppg, 4.0 apg Gillette (Wayne State, basketball)

Stephanie Warnke 5-8 F 9.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg Sheridan (Casper College, basketball)

Against Montana: Wyoming trails 8-4. Montana has won the past seven games. Head coach: Frank McCarthy, Sheridan College. Assistant coaches: Sandy Michelena, Sheridan College; Molly Marso, Douglas.

Against South Dakota: Wyoming leads 13-7. The two teams split in 2002. Head coach: Mitch Holst, Gillette. Assistant coaches: Not available.


Colette Behrent, Columbus; Amy Brooks, Helena (Montana); Laura Cote, Gardiner (Montana); Jackie DeShzer, Libby (Montana); Danielle Hagen, Sidney; Crystal Kain, Charlo; Lori Jo Neibauer, Wolf Point (MSU-Billings); Amanda Norby, Sidney (Rocky Mountain); Rissy Obert, Big Timber Sweet Grass (Carroll); Michela Schmitz, Great Falls (Montana).

Head coach: Brian Henderson, Rocky Mountain College. Assistant coach: Kevin Wooden, Billings West.


Ashley Bjorkman, Vermillion (South Dakota); Shannon Daly, Groton (Southwestern State); Lara Doshier, Rapid City Stevens (Augustana); Lana Giannonatti, Harding County (Black Hills State); Brittney Klipfel, Fredrick (Black Hills State); Kylee Korgman, White River (Mid-American Nazarene); Dana Johnson, Harding County (Dickinson State); Laura Legge, Aberdeen Central (St. Cloud State); Kara Overweg, Mount Vernon (Dakota Weslyan); Sara Van Deest, Lead-Deadwood (Black Hills State).

Head coach: Josh Page, Harding County. Assistant coach: Les Schoeder, Spearfish.

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