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First home basketball games for Wolverines are a long time coming

Jan 7, 2014 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Finally. The Riverton High School boys and girls basketball teams find a set of home games on their schedule after boarding the big yellow buses and logging nearly 1,000 miles in the 2013 part of their schedule that never found the Wolverines at home.

And, for Riverton hoops fans, it's the best long weekend of basketball our county will see this season.

It really starts Wednesday with the Central Wyoming College Rustlers hosting Gillette College in a pair for men's and women's games.

Then, Thursday through Saturday, high school basketball teams from Evanston, Cheyenne, Laramie, Sheridan, Casper will join the Riverton Wolverines and Lady Wolverines for games in the Bill Strannigan East vs. West basketball tournament.

In all, there will be 45 boys and girls games played at the sophomore, junior varsity and varsity levels utilizing the three venues of Wolverine Gym, Rustler Gym and Riverton Middle School Gym.

The impact on our local economy of this weekend shouldn't be overlooked as these young men and women and their coaches, drivers and fans will fill our hotels and restaurants for three days.

And, a bit of history will be made when the Cheyenne South Bison, the newest school in Cheyenne and in the Wyoming Class 4-A ranks, make their first ever appearance on a Riverton basketball court.

Riverton's boys and girls schedules in the Bill Strannigan tournament include games Thursday against Sheridan, Friday against Laramie, and Saturday against Cheyenne South -- all teams that the Wolverines could see again later at the Class 4-A state tournament.

Gone is the big Fremont County Shootout that, for years gave county basketball fans the chance to see Riverton, Lander, Wyoming Indian High School, Wind River, Shoshoni and sometimes Dubois battle for the title of being the county's best. That tournament has shrunk considerably, with neither Riverton nor Lander participating any more.

Next year, Wyoming high school basketball schedules will shrink by two games, making tournaments like the Bill Strannigan East vs. West tournament even more important because teams can play three or four games in a tournament and only have it count for two games against the schedule.

Fans already have noticed that Worland and Cody, two teams that were always on Riverton's schedules back in the day, aren't there anymore. Next year the Wolverines may add Powell to that list of teams on the "used to play" list.

Riverton only plays its rival Lander once each year these days (during the old Fremont County Shootout days, the Wolverines and Tigers could see each other three times during a season), as the Wolverines do their best to play top competition in the Class 4-A ranks before their conference season begins.

Make some appointments on your calendars this year to make it to Wolverine Gym to support the Wolverines and Lady Wolverines. In fact, let's see you this weekend.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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