The start of conference quadrant action is finally here for both Laramie High School basketball teams. They open tonight at No. 2 Cheyenne East.

It’s a girls’-boys’ doubleheader with the girls’ game at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ at 7:30 p.m. from the Thunderdome at Cheyenne East High School.

It’s a new format for league play with Class 4A now at 16 teams and split into four 4-team quadrants. Laramie’s record against the three Cheyenne High School’s will determine its seed at the regional tournament. They will also play one-time against teams from the Northeast Quadrant, so they have a game against teams they might play at regionals.

Laramie girls’ head coach Rod Tyson says it might be a new set-up, but it doesn’t change any thinking.

“Now that everyone goes to regionals, you still have to play, so it’s basically the same way. You just have quadrants, you don’t have to travel, as much. You don’t make two trips up the long way anymore, we just have it mostly here, so we can handle that.”

The Laramie Lady Plainsmen (3-7) have lost four straight games entering conference play. None of the losses have been by more than six points and are by a combined 19 total points.

Tyson feels his team has made a lot of progress but knows they have to stop turning the ball over. Laramie’s at 21.5 turnovers per game. He also stated the last four are games they probably could’ve won, which is why he’s worried about his team’s psyche’.

As for facing second-ranked Cheyenne East (12-1) in their first league game, Tyson knows they have to play well.

“East is really big and fast and play tough defense and rebound well. I was watching a little film on them, and they do a lot of stuff Rusty (Horsley – former coach) was doing before, so they haven’t changed much, but they do have a couple of little wrinkles on some inbounds plays that we’ll go over… They do zone a lot, especially if you inbound the ball, so we’ll have to work on our zone offense and be patient. Most teams they play against try to throw the ball over the top, and they’re so long, they get tips all the time.”

The Lady Plainsmen are led by senior Jennifer Aadland at 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 4.9 blocked shots per game.

Cheyenne East is led by junior Ky Buell. She is averaging 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and four steals per game. Six other players average between 4.9 and 9.3 points per game.

Sophomore guards DaiJane Giron and Kylee Cox joined KOWB’s David Settle for an update on the Laramie girls’ season to this point and what they are expecting in conference play, particularly against East.

The Laramie Plainsmen (6-4) have been on a nice streak recently. They’ve won three straight and five of their last six games.

Head coach Travis Brown feels their record reflects what they’ve earned thus far.

“Kids have worked hard. Hopefully, we’re going in the right direction and it translates now to conference. Conference is a whole other beast. We’ve got to learn from what we’ve just gone through, but move forward and be ready to apply that knowledge, and hopefully, it can give us some success.”

Brown believes they haven’t hit their ceiling yet but knows conference play will test them right away with two teams ranked in the top four.

First up is No. 2 Cheyenne East (10-1). Brown knows it’ll be a high-energy environment over there tonight.

“East is always fun. They announce by turning off the lights. They’ve got the smoke machine, and they always have a full crowd, so it’ll be packed, it’ll be a good time.”

As for their style, Brown says, “They’re going to try and get out and run and get the crowd into it early. They got guys that can dunk. We’ll see the press, I’m sure. We’ll see if we can handle the pressure. We just can get in a contest of trying to trade buckets with them. We’ve got to make them work a little bit.”

The Plainsmen are led by senior Hudda Herrera. He’s averaging 19.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and three blocks per game. Sophomore Christian Mickelson and senior Will Tyser are also in double figures at 13.4 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.

The Thunderbirds are led by senior Erik Oliver. He averages 20.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. They have three other double-figure scorers and have just gotten sophomore Graedyn Buell back from an injury he suffered in football. He averaged 20.5 points per game at Rock Springs as a freshman last season.

Seniors Shane Forry and Brady Epler visited with KOWB’s David Settle about the Laramie boys’ season thus far, and also looked ahead to the conference, including the game at East tonight.

The girls’-boys’ doubleheader will be broadcast live on KOWB (AM 1290), online, through the KOWB app, and on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. David Settle will call all the action. Coverage will start at 5:30 p.m.

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