Mar 5, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterWyoming Indian High School enters its Class 2-A state basketball tournament opener in familiar territory. The Chiefs finished the 2013 season with a consolation championship win over the Burns Broncs at Casper Kelly Walsh and begin their 2014 trek against those same Broncs at Casper College at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
Burns enters the game with the fourth seed out of the 2-A East and an overall record of 16-10.
The Chiefs have just a single loss on their schedule, a two-point decision at Big Piney.
Burns is a defensive team led by 6-foot-3, 260-pound Travis Romsa. Romsa is power player in the post who uses his size well to create space for close-range shots.
The Chiefs sport a talented tandem of post players themselves in 6-6, 245-pound Trevor Williamson and 6-5 senior Joseph Howell.
Romsa leads the Broncs with a 15.2 points-per-game average and snags an average of 9.1 rebounds per game.
The Chiefs are talented and deep, with freshman Buell Robinson leading the offense with an average of 18.3 points per game. He led the 2-A Southwest in assists with 3.8 per game.
Wilson Clifford averages 12.6 points, and Williamson pours in 10.8 per game.
Howell averages eight rebounds and three assists per game as well.
Common opponents are not that common across the 320 miles that separate the two schools, but there have been a few.
Big Horn, Wright, Shoshoni and Saratoga are all common opponents, with the Chiefs pounding all four of those teams -- a 95-46 win over Big Horn, 61-24 over Wright, 95-35 against Saratoga, and a 103-38 pummeling of Shoshoni.
Burns beat Big Horn 46-42, Shoshoni 56-52 and Wright 51-32 but lost to Saratoga in their final meeting 66-57.
Burns averages 49 points per game and gives up 47, compared to 80 and 44 for the Chiefs. The Broncs don't score many points but are a hard-nosed defensive team paced by Taylor Kirkbride.
After the low-post play of Romsa, their offense centers on straight drives to the basket with an occasional 3-point attempt. Left-handed 5-foot-5 guard Cory Lemaster drives consistently from the left side of the floor.
The Chiefs have the most varied offense in Class 2-A and can score inside or out. They have developed into one of the best man-to-man defensive teams to ever take the court in the storied history of Wyoming Indian basketball.
Lady Chiefs in girls field
Wyoming Indian head coach Aleta Moss began the season with a very young team and took her lumps as a result in the opening stages of the year, but the Chief girls have improved steadily and are contenders again this season in the state 2-A girls tournament.
Wyoming Indian brings a 14-10 record to the floor of Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym on Thursday to open the 2-A tournament at 9 a.m. The Chiefs tangle with the Pine Bluffs Hornets, a familiar state tournament opponent for the Chiefs over the years.
The Hornets are 16-9 this year and finished third in the 2-A East. They are a senior-laden team led by Andrea Baker at 10.8 points per game. She is joined by Sam Hanson (6.8), Dana Mullins (5.9) and Jesi Zitek (5.3) in scoring.
Wyoming Indian has one of the most potent offenses in all of Class 2-A, averaging 62 points per game while giving up just 48. Pine Bluffs is more defense-oriented, allowing just 34 points.
Loveeda White leads the Chiefs in scoring and rebounding with averages of 15.2 and 7.2 per game, respectively. Freshman Amyrn Brown also averages double-figure scoring with 11.7 per game, but as a team the Chiefs score with great balance on most nights.
That balance is evident in the assists category, where four of the top five rankings in the 2-A Southwest belong to Wyoming Indian players. Jasmine McGill leads the category with 3.6, followed by Brown and White with 3.4 each, and Shaylee Lonedog with 2.8.
The teams share a common opponent in Big Horn. Pine Bluffs edged the Rams by two, and the Lady Chiefs fell by a pair to Big Horn in early season action.
Both teams sport lopsided wins over Shoshoni in the only other opponent they share.
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