For the first time this season, the Laramie High School basketball teams play games in the Gem City, as they host the Green River Wolves Thursday night.

The girls’-boys’ doubleheader is part of the Taco John’s Invitational. Laramie will play three games over the next three days. Thursday is at home versus Green River. Friday sees both teams playing neutral site games at Cheyenne East High School with the girls taking on Sheridan and the boys playing Rock Springs. Saturday, it’s back home against Kelly Walsh at LHS.

Both Laramie’s head coaches Jim Shaffer and Rod Tyson are both looking forward to playing at home.

Shaffer said, “Hopefully we have a great crowd Thursday and Saturday. Hopefully, we play well. You know, you play well and are fun to watch, I think people will want to keep coming to watch us play. So, a little bit of pressure, in terms of, we want to play well now that we’re finally at home.”

Tyson added, “It’s always better (at home), of course, but I only focus on what we’ve done and how much we’re improving. Sometimes being at home, they have their boyfriends here, they have family here that couldn’t come on the away games, and they don’t focus as much, so we’ve been talking about that, as well.”

The Plainsmen are off to 6-0 start and are ranked fourth in the latest WyoPreps.com Coaches and Media Boys’ Basketball Rankings.

Shaffer said they’ve finally had a chance to put some new things in over the last three weeks.

“We changed some things up offensively and added some things defensively that we hadn’t had a chance to put in yet.”

Shaffer added with the big break over the holidays and no games, he had to keep their interest by introducing new parts to their game plan.

“We added some new things and hopefully got better at the things we were already doing.”

Shaffer knows their three opponents bring a different challenge and look.

“Green River is better than what their record indicates. They’re pretty young, but they’ve got some talent. Rock Springs is really talented. They have just one win, but that’s over Thunder Basin who is ranked No. 3 right now… They’re long and athletic, so we’ve got our work cut out for us on Friday. Then obviously, Kelly Walsh, year after year, is one of the better programs in the state and most well-coached teams in the state, so they’ll be good on Saturday.”

The Lady Plainsmen are 2-4 on the season after a pair of 1-2 efforts at two tournaments in December.

Tyson said their focus has been on a lot of items.

“We’ve been doing lots of skill work, lots of prayers (laughing); just trying to get the kids involved and get them focused and believe that they can be better. I guess we’ll find out if we did that or not.”

As for the weekend of action against the Wolves, Broncs, and Trojans.

Tyson said, “I know Sheridan hasn’t won a game in a while, but I saw them play against Kelly Walsh, they were really tough. It was a really close game. I think Green River is really big and strong, and they killed us on the inside last year, and now we don’t have Jen (Aadland), so we’re really working hard on boxing out and protecting the middle. They also have a couple of shooters, so it’s just going to be a tough game. We already played Kelly Walsh once, and they beat us pretty good. We’ll be able to see if we’ve gotten a little better with how we play them.”

The games on Thursday have the varsity girls at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity boys at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cheyenne East High School, the ladies play at 3:30 p.m. with the guys right after at 5 p.m. Then it’s back home on Saturday with the girls at 11:30 a.m. and the boys at 1 p.m.

KOWB (AM 1290) will broadcast all six varsity games live this weekend. David Settle will call all the action. Coverage will start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, at 3 p.m. on Friday, and at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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