NEWS photo by Thomas Watson
Ten Sleep Lady Pioneer head coach Sarah Novak looks on as senior Carina Lewton puts up a shot with Amanda Lewton defending her. Teams begin their season this Friday as Ten Sleep will be at the Upton Tournament, Burlington hosts the North Big Horn County Shootout and Meeteetse takes on Farson-Eden. Right, Lady Pioneer Michayla Miller lays the ball up in front of two defenders during practice. Miller, a junior, was the leading scorer last season for Ten Sleep.
Lady Huskies hope to repeat as champs of
1A Northwest Region
By Thomas Watson
TEN SLEEP – For the majority of teams, basketball season begins
this Friday with tournaments across the state. Burlington is
hosting a tournament with Greybull on Friday and Saturday while
Ten Sleep will travel to Upton for a tournament. Meeteetse,
however, will open with a non-conference game at home against
The Lady Huskies will be trying to win another 1A Northwest conference championship and have four returning starters after losing only Ashlee Wardell off of last year’s team.
“Early in the season (having four returning starters) helps us because we are reviewing our offenses and defenses and not learning them,” said Burlington head coach Jerry Patrick. “We were able to spend a big part of our preseason working on fundamentals. Last year we had a lot of new kids and it took us awhile to get ready.”
Patrick still isn’t looking for too much early in the season as his team plays only 2A and 3A teams before Christmas, but he still is looking to win in the region.
“These kids are really good. They like each other and support each other,” Patrick said. “Early in the year we are going to focus on establishing our substitutions and who can sub where. We play all 2A schools early, so it’s going to be tough. Sometimes you have to fail to learn. We need to be ready to do that, but of course we want to win our conference and dominate our conference if we can. Then we want to be competitive and a contender at state.”
The Lady Pioneers, meanwhile, are coming off of only their third appearance in the state tournament in school history.
They also have three returning starters including Michayla Miller who was the leading scorer and an all-state selection last year. Amanda Lewton and Clarissa Stephenson are the other two returning starters.
“Besides Michayla, our other two returning starters will have to play a bigger role,” said Ten Sleep head coach Sarah Novak. “Last year they were freshmen and now they are sophomores. They had great experiences last year making the state tournament, so they understand what has to happen as a team to get back to that level. I’m seeing in practice that they are taking on (a more significant role).”
Novak is taking over for Dave Egger and there will be a few changes to this year’s team. Along with playing at a faster pace, Novak mentioned differences in the defense.
Even though they are coming off of a state tournament appearance, Ten Sleep knows they have to play well in the conference to get the chance to go back.
“We haven’t talked yet as a team about our goals, but first and foremost our goal is to be at the top of our conference,” Novak said. “Meeteetse has a lot of seniors and so does Burlington, so they have some depth on us. I’d like for us to be in the top two or three in conference and make it to the region tournament and not have to play the pig tail game. Once we get to the tournament, anything is possible.”
Essentially, Meeteetse will return all of their starters and have six girls that head coach Kelsey Scolari feels comfortable starting in Ashton Abarr, Cheyenne Foote, Haley Sessions, Amelia May and Tori Lewis.
“We’re hoping to be a more controlled team and a more versatile team,” said Scolari. “I want to have fewer turnovers and keep it simple. We want to use our experience to our advantage.”
Already, this experienced team has shown their quickness in practice.
“We have a really quick team this year,” Scolari said. “We’re really post heavy. We have a lot of people who feel comfortable in the post. Our weakness is our ball handling. We don’t have a lot of people that are very comfortable handling the ball, but in general they are a really athletic, fast moving bunch.”
For a team that has not made the state tournament since 2010, having this many returning players gives the Lady Horns hope that their drought is up and they have the stated goal of making the state tournament.
“I told them that we need to constantly working to get better every week,” said Scolari. “We can’t make silly mistakes, and we can’t play lazy. We have to keep improving so we can peak at the right time to make it to state.”
Continued in today's issue of the DAILY NEWS. Subscribe here
DAILY NEWS photo by Thomas Watson
Ten Sleep Pioneer Quinton Fetig runs a two on one with teammate Kristian Nash as head coach Andy Ray defends. Ten Sleep will be replacing two all-state players and their head coach as they begin a major rebuilding season. Burlington and Meeteetse, meanwhile, will look to build on last year’s success.