To no one’s surprise, the Casper College women’s basketball team dominated the Region IX North sub-region end-of-season honors announced Tuesday.
The Thunderbirds (20-0) ended the regular season ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Top 25, tying the 2011-12 team as the highest-ever ranking for the program.
Dwight Gunnare, who is in his 13th year leading the T-Birds, was selected the Region IX Coach of the Year. Gunnare has compiled a record of 338-80 (.809 winning percentage) at Casper College and earlier this season became the program’s all-time winningest coach. He surpassed Gary Becker, who was 328-104 from 1989-2003.
Under Gunnare, the T-Birds have won four Region IX championships (2010-11, 2018, 2020). The 2010 team finished fourth at the national tournament.
Gunnare wasn’t the only T-Bird recognized for his contributions this season as sophomore Natalia Otkhmezuri, Kobe King-Hawea and Kammie Ragsdale were selected to the all-Region IX North team and freshman Jonseana Vaz was an all-defensive selection.
King-Hawea was a junior college All-America at Gillette College last year before transferring to Casper College when the Pronghorns cut their basketball program. This season the 5-foot-11 wing from Australia leads the T-Birds with 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Otkhmezuri, a 5-8 guard from the country of Georgia, averages 15.1 points per game and is second in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (52.5%).
Ragsdale, a 6-0 wing from Pine Bluffs, averages 8.3 points per game.
The T-Birds enter this week’s Region IX Tournament in La Junta, Colorado, having won 35 games in a row dating back to last season. Casper College faces Northeastern Junior College in the quarterfinals Thursday