There’s not much returning, but the Laramie Lady Plainsmen basketball team is still looking at high expectations as they embark on a new season Thursday.

Laramie went 17-10 last year and lost in the third place game at the state tournament. That was their first appearance at state since 2013. The Lady Plainsmen got there after a third place finish and 6-4 mark in the 4A East Conference.

Now in year three under head coach Laura Pollard, the Laramie girl’s only return two players with varsity experience at LHS from last season. However, those two are highly touted. Senior guard Lexi Pulley was an All-State selection last year, while junior forward Jennifer Aadland was All-Conference.

Coach Pollard says it’s an awesome feeling having those two to build around. They’ve added to that with the return of seniors Sekoya Romero and Shyann Bastian, who did not play last year. Plus, move-in senior forward Kendra Lyons and move-in sophomore guard Delaney Qualls have varsity experience at their prior schools.

Pollard says all those players will play key roles this season.

“We still have some depth, which surprises me. I thought we were going to have kind of a rebuilding year, but then Sekoya and Shyann came back, and Kendra moved to town. So all of the sudden you went from having to kind of rebuild with Lexi and Jen to having some more experience… I’m really lucky and blessed.”

The roster features five seniors, but also a mix of juniors, sophomores and three freshman that will see some time at the varsity level.

Pollard also referenced that with this being her third year, players know her system and with some good incoming talent, she’s got good guidance for them.

Pulley and Aadland are both looking forward to the new season. They visited with KOWB’s David Settle about this upcoming season, plus the mix on the roster, dealing with expectations and more, including having some fun with the preview.

Laramie, like all other teams around the state, has had only nine days to prepare for their first action of the season. Despite that short time, Pollard says they’re not that far behind.

“There’s going to be those mental lapses. The things that come with some youth. I don’t really feel we’re far behind, especially with that first five… I think we’re faster than last year, and I think we’re kind of ahead. I think I pushed a lot in the last nine days.”

Pollard also admitted she was surprised at their No. 4 ranking in the Coach’s and Media Preseason Girls Basketball Poll. She said she’s used to being an underdog, but they’ll have to deal with it.

The likes of defending state champ Cheyenne East, Gillette and Natrona County are at the top of the rankings again.

This weekend features a busy schedule, as the Lady Plainsmen will play four games in three days at the Fremont Motors Tournament hosted by Kelly Walsh in Casper. Laramie faces Evanston at Casper College Thursday at 6 p.m. They will play twice Friday at Natrona County High School. LHS plays Rock Springs at 10:30 a.m. and the Natrona Fillies at 6 p.m. The tournament concludes Saturday with a game at Kelly Walsh against the Trojans. Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m.

KOWB will broadcast every Laramie game this season. David Settle and VerDon Hoopes return to call the action. Coverage will start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Friday and at 4 p.m. on Saturday. You can also listen online or take the games mobile with the new KOWB app.

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