CASPER, Wyo. — The annual Midland Roundtable Montana-Wyoming All-Star Basketball Series unfolds this weekend across both the Treasure and Equality States, albeit with a slight change to the schedule.
Instead of the typical Sheridan-to-Billings path that the two-game series usually takes, Friday’s games will be played in Billings and Saturday’s doubleheader will take place at Sheridan College. This comes after a request from the Wyoming team to host the Saturday games every other year.
That’s the second noted change after the venue in Billings was shifted to Montana State Billings from its typical location due to water damage at Rocky Mountain College.
Obstacles lay ahead for the Wyoming girls’ efforts to end their current losing streak against Montana at five games. The Wyoming girls roster has been whittled down to eight players after Powell’s Aubrey Stenerson had a nail ripped off her finger, causing her to withdraw, and Gillette’s Emma Jarvis not being able to get the weekend off work. Ryan Davis, the Sheridan College women’s coach and head coach of the Wyoming team, said he had a player lined up to fill in if needed, but the notices came too late and his replacement also couldn’t swing the time.
That leaves Abby Greer and Maddie Miller (Thunder Basin), Kendall Wright (Greybull), Noelle Peterson (Encampment), Hailey Anderson (Southeast), Alexandria Trosper (Wyoming Indian), Kammie Ragsdale (Pine Bluffs) and Jennifer Aadland (Laramie) left to play in both games. Davis is optimistic about the team’s speed, but the lack of post presence could pose a problem.
“At the guard spots especially, one-through-three, we’re as tough as we’ve been,” Davis said. “But we don’t have as much post presence. Every year, even when we do have size, Montana has some big kids. It’s a challenge on the defensive end but offensively it works well for us.”
Montana leads the series 31-13 all-time. Wyoming’s last win came in 2016 and it hasn’t won at Montana since 2012.
Speaking of droughts, the Wyoming boys team goes into this weekend’s series on a 14-game losing streak. Their last win came in overtime at Billings in 2011. On top of that, Wyoming has only won on its home court three times this century, which first-year head coach Cody Ball hopes to change this year.
“This has been a great practice for me and I’m just as competitive as anyone else,” Ball said. “We have some really talented players and I think they’ll gel well.”
Ball, who has since been promoted to Sheridan College men’s coach, replaces former Generals coach Matt Hammer, who recently took the head coaching job at Colorado State-Pueblo. Ball has enjoyed the few short hours with this team up to this point, even though he had to find a replacement of his own. Cody’s Elijah Leyva, who led Class 4A with 25.7 points per game, withdrew from the team due to personal reasons. He’ll be replaced by Laramie’s Hudda Herrera-Curry, who Ball said was originally planned for the initial 10 names on Wyoming’s team but fell through the cracks during the coaching change.
Herrera-Curry will be joined by original invitees Tristan Bower (Sheridan), Trase Olsen (Gillette), Davion McAdam (Kelly Walsh), Erik Oliver (Cheyenne East), Treyton Paxton (Riverton), Danny Gosar (Pinedale), Lain Mitchelson (Farson), Colton Larson (Thunder Basin) and Jaren Fritz (Glenrock). Eight of those 10 players have either committed or signed to play college basketball.
Mr. and Ms. Basketball Wyoming will both be announced over the weekend.