Class 4A may have cemented its top boys basketball team after all. A clean sweep of Lander, Riverton and Kelly Walsh at the Taco John’s Invitational in Cheyenne this weekend improved Sheridan to 8-0 and atop the undisputed food chain summit.
The Broncs pulled away from the Trojans on Saturday afternoon, turning a three-point halftime lead into an eventual 66-44 final. Cheyenne East, the closest to test for the top spot, crushed Riverton, Rock Springs and Green River on Saturday night. Thunder Basin, which is responsible for East’s only loss, had the weekend off.
Sheridan plays at Thunder Basin on Jan. 18.
Laramie and Cheyenne Central both split their weekends as well. The Plainsmen scored an overtime victory over Green River on Thursday while the Tribe scored a 14-point win against the Wolves on Saturday. They also both lost to Kelly Walsh.
Class 3A also has a definitive favorite as Buffalo ran through both Mountain View and Lyman before facing Pinedale on Saturday night at the East-West Classic. The Bison were previously ranked behind Lander and Douglas but took the top spot after both of those sides suffered losses. That outcome solidified over the weekend as the Bearcats went 2-1, with the loss coming to Mountain View on Saturday, and the Tigers split their weekend between a loss to Sheridan and victory over Natrona County at the Taco John’s Invitational.
Torrington and Rawlins also picked up key wins over the weekend.
Pine Bluffs, the favorites in Class 2A, beat Wheatland before falling to Laramie on Saturday. They did compete with the Plainsmen up to a point before the 14-point loss.
While Class 1A contenders Cokeville and Farson competed in the smaller Kemmerer Invitational, top-ranked Encampment dispatched No. 5 Saratoga with a 19-point win on Friday.
The spotlight of all girls basketball action over the weekend illuminated Pinedale on Saturday afternoon as defending Class 3A champion Douglas squared-off with upstart threat Mountain View. The Buffalos outscored Douglas 21-7 in the second quarter to actually lead the Bearcats 28-26 at the half. That’s when the Bearcats regained their dominant form, outscoring Mountain View 41-18 in the second half to win 67-46. Haily Stephens scored a game-high 20 points (including five 3-pointers) for Mountain View while Douglas was sparked by Allyson Fertig (15 points), Haedyn Rhoades (12) and Emily Curtis (13, with 12 coming in the second half).
Douglas, whose only loss came by eight points to Class 4A No. 1 Thunder Basin, also beat Lyman by 31 and Pinedale by 41 this weekend. Attention now largely turns to an upcoming meeting with conference rival Buffalo, No. 2 in 3A, for a Jan. 18 game.
While Thunder Basin was off this weekend, No. 2 Cheyenne East took care of business. As did rival Cheyenne Central, which squeezed by Kelly Walsh on Thursday. In fact, the largest classification largely played-out chalk. Kelly Walsh and Laramie were both able to gain victories and the Trojans won their head-to-head on Friday.
Class 2A’s top team, undefeated Wyoming Indian, took the weekend easy, facing only Riverside on Saturday. That left the pressure on 2A No. 2 Pine Bluffs, which ran the table on 4A tandem Sheridan and Laramie, as well as 3A Wheatland.
Over at the Kemmerer Invitational, Class 1A leader Cokeville ran through its opposition and maintained its status as favorite. Farson scored key victories as well at that tournament. No. 2 St. Stephens crushed Midwest in its only game of the weekend after a scheduled game against the Lander JV was postponed.
Classification, conference and quadrant races will almost now uniformly turn inward. Non-tournament regular-season games dominate the schedule from this point forward.