A new season brings a fresh start, but for the Laramie Lady Plainsmen, there are plenty of unknowns as they begin the 2019-2020 high school basketball season.

Rod Tyson returns for a second straight year and seventh overall to guide the Laramie girls’ program. The Lady Plainsmen finished last season 7-16 overall and 1-5 in the Southeast Quadrant. They went 1-2 at the regional tournament and didn’t qualify for the state tournament.

There are two returning starters, in junior Kayla Vasquez and sophomore Janey Adair, and a total of seven letter winners back, but LHS will be young this year.

Tyson has three seniors, three juniors, and seven underclassmen on the varsity roster to begin the new campaign.

He says they are becoming a team early on.

“They're working hard, really hard, but we don’t have a lot of experience. We have a lot of experience coming back with girls that played varsity, but not experience that I would say ‘they’re veterans’ and know exactly what they’re supposed to do. We’re basically re-teaching and hopefully adding some of the other younger players in, we’ll be better.”

Tyson always looks at early-season tournaments as tune-ups for the conference season. He says they’ll play a lot of kids, see what happens and adjust accordingly.

Two of those “veterans” are seniors Jayla Wulff and Josie Elder. Both have played some varsity, but not a lot in their careers. They spoke with KOWB’s David Settle about the upcoming season, the team, their goals, and more in the video above.

The practices have gone well from Tyson’s standpoint. He said he and assistant coach Doug Roehrkasse have seen some interesting things in practice.

“We were talking about, man, do we really look good? Or, is our defense bad? There’s been a couple of those things, but the one thing I can say is the kids are really working hard. They’re flying around, all the stuff I like to do, so I guess this weekend will tell us where we’re at.”

Laramie opens the 2019-20 season at the Strannigan Classic in Riverton. They will play the host Wolverines on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. They face Kelly Walsh on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and will play Rock Springs on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tyson said this weekend will be all about working hard and striving to get better each day.

“We’re still trying to figure who can score, who will be our stopper, things like that, so these three games are gonna be trying to figure out what the heck can we do and what can we do well.”

He added that all the players that played varsity last season are working really hard, are doing everything I ask, they’re encouraging each other and going all out.

Tyson added this team will be able to do more of what he likes.

“I like to go up and down, push the ball, trap, and press, and create lots of chaos. That’s what we like to do, but we also have to learn to score.”

He sees this weekend as a big test for his squad.

Laramie heads to Green River for the Flaming Gorge Classic Dec. 19-21. Their first home game will be on Jan. 9, 2020, as part of the Taco John’s Invitational. They will have two other non-conference home games in January before starting 4A Southeast Quadrant action against Cheyenne East and Cheyenne Central on Jan. 23 and 24.

The 4A East Regional Championships are in Gillette at Thunder Basin High School on March 5-7, 2020. The 4A State Championships are in Casper on March 12-14, 2020.

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