Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson talks AAU basketball

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Pine Bluffs sophomore forward Hunter Thompson, right, has averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1 steal across 55 games. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

I first heard of Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson playing AAU ball when my colleague Dave Shelles wrote this Prep Athlete of the Week feature on him in 2014. I heard more about it when my friend Jack Nowlin of the Casper Star-Tribune wrote this feature on Thompson to start the 2014-15 season.

I was really intrigued by the Utah portion of the 6-foot-10 sophomore’s AAU exploits that Nowlin wrote about. Cheyenne East graduate and current Toronto Raptors power forward James Johnson played with a Denver-based AAU team when he caught the attention of Division I schools in 2006. I know a few more Cheyenne kids have played with teams along the Front Range, the Cheyenne-based Wyoming Flight basketball program has also gotten off the ground in the past few years.

But it struck me as odd that Thompson would go to Utah for his AAU ball. Continue reading

Pigskin postmortem: Cheyenne South

Cheyenne South junior running back Marquez Jefferson, center, earned All-Class 4A East Conference honors after rushing for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Cheyenne South junior running back Marquez Jefferson, center, earned All-Class 4A East Conference honors after rushing for 887 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

A few weeks ago, I came home late from work and turned on ESPN’s “College Football Final.” They were going into a Colorado highlight when host Rece Davis said something along the lines of, “There are no two teams in the country who are more improved but have less to show for it than Colorado and Arkansas.”

Clearly this was before Arkansas beat LSU and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks.

You might be thinking to yourself, what does this have to do with the 2014 Cheyenne South football team?

Well, that’s an apt description for the Bison, is it not?

There was no team in Class 4A more improved but with less to show for it in the standings.

South finished its fourth season of varsity football 2-7, a school record for wins. It scored its first win over a cross-town rival and its first road win (31-28 at Cheyenne Central on Sept. 5). Continue reading

Pigskin postmortem: Cheyenne East

Chad Goff has coached the Cheyenne East football team to a 59-39 record, two state championships and two runner-up finishes in nine seasons. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Chad Goff has coached the Cheyenne East football team to a 59-39 record, two state championships and two runner-up finishes in nine seasons. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Cheyenne East’s season ended with a 34-31 double-overtime loss to Gillette in the Class 4A semifinals.

The Thunderbirds (8-3) may have ended up short of their ultimate goal, but ninth-year coach Chad Goff deemed the season a success.

“We started the season as a great group of individuals and ended the season as a great team,” Goff said. “We grew a lot. These kids did a lot of things together, spent a lot of time together, created a nice brotherhood, created memories that they’ll have forever and became a nice team.

“… We got as much out of the kids as we could and they gave us as much as they could. High school football requires a lot of things to go your way. All season, we had things go our way but, in that final game, we had some things that hadn’t happened to us all year happen in that game.” Continue reading

Pigskin postmortem: Cheyenne Central

Severn, Drew

Drew Severn

Drew Severn had spent four seasons as an assistant football coach in Burns before being hired as Cheyenne Central’s head coach this season. There also was time spent as a sub-varsity coach in his native Arizona before he returned to the Cowboy State, where he lettered football for the University of Wyoming from 2002-05.

Severn knew this season would be a learning experience as he got used to the responsibilities that come with being the head coach.

It was just that.

“I made the final call on everything we were doing,” Severn said. “I had always given my opinion but I had never been the person that made the final decision before this year. That was uncharted territory, but I got more comfortable with that as the year progressed and I was making decent enough calls to get us in the right spot.

“We got better towards the end of the year and I got better towards the end too.” Continue reading

BLOG BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne East boys basketball

EastJeff Bailey is confident entering his second season as the Cheyenne East boys basketball coach.

Taking a team from five wins to a 21-7 mark and third-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament has that effect on coaches. So does returning two all-state players.

More than anything, though, Bailey is just more comfortable in the lead chair and the responsibilities that come along with it.

“Any time you start something new, it’s a little intimidating,” Bailey said. “Now we have a foundation set and the kids know the expectations and we’re building off of a lot of good things that we saw from last year.” Continue reading

BLOCK BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne South boys basketball

SouthThe Bison finished last season 8-20 and reached the Class 4A state tournament for the second time in their mere four-year history in Wyoming’s top classification.

South graduated Kyhler Cummings, Robert Dilsaver and Adam Haberkorn, all of whom were four-year starters. Cummings is playing for Laramie County Community College, where he is averaging 3.4 points in eight games with the Golden Eagles (11-2 overall, 3-1 Region IX).

“I kind of feel like I should have graduated right along with them,” Bison coach Jim Shaffer joked. Continue reading

BLOG BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne Central boys basketball

CentralTagg Lain takes over a team that went 7-19 and placed fourth at the Class 4A state tournament in 2014.

The Indians graduated all-state guard Josh Fearing, who is suiting up for Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs. Fearing has played in nine games for the Mustangs (9-2).

Senior Tayton Montgomery also decided to skip basketball in favor of indoor track and field. Classmate Rhett Muchmore did the same, but with wrestling. Seniors Paul Sheppard and Blane Cowley also didn’t go out for basketball this season.

Those five players accounted for an average of 28.3 of Central’s 41.5 points per game, so they’re significant losses.

Here is what you should know about what Central will put on the court this winter: Continue reading

Stampede notes: Cheyenne adds forward Garrett Pitter

Canadian forward Garrett Pitter joined the Cheyenne Stampede this week. Photo from asdb.com.

Canadian forward Garrett Pitter joined the Cheyenne Stampede this week. Photo from asdb.com.

Forward Garrett Pitter will make his Cheyenne Stamepede debut when the Western States Hockey League team hosts the Colorado RoughRiders at 7:35 p.m. Friday at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center.

The 18-year-old center comes to Cheyenne from Calgary, Alberta, and most recently played 14 games with the British Columbia-based Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The 5-foot-8, 158-pounder’s family reached out to Stampede coach Eric Ballard about coming to Cheyenne a few weeks ago. Ballard established a relationship with Pitter’s family while recruiting players this summer, but Pitter chose to stay in Canada.

“Some times, families reconsider and circle back and that’s what happened here,” the coach said. Continue reading

Stampede notes: Shaver, Johnson leave

Cheyenne StampedeForwards Bailey Shaver and Chaydyn Johnson left the Cheyenne Stampede early last week. I found out that both players informed Cheyenne coach Eric Ballard of their intent to leave the team when I was doing interviews at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center on Tuesday.

I was waiting to write this blog post until I got some more information on where they were headed but got busy (and caught a 24-hour stomach bug on Thanksgiving of all days).

Shaver and Johnson have moved to the inactive portion of the Stampede roster on PointStreak.com, so here’s what I know about their departures. Continue reading