Apr 14, 2014 - StaffBy Bruce Tippets
Casey Winger stood tall on the basketball court this year for the Lander Tigers.
The 6-foot-4 senior was there when it came down to scoring crucial points in pivotal moments of the game.
Winger is the Fremont County Boys Basketball Player of the year, selected by the sports staff of the The Ranger, Wind River News and the Lander Journal.
"It's an honor to be viewed like that," Winger said. "There are a lot of good players in our county."
Winger averaged 14.3 points per game and pulled in 5.9 rebounds.
Winger and the Tigers were the Class 3-A West conference champions.
Lander finished second in the regional title game, losing to Cody in a heated battle at Mountain View High School.
"Being in the regional championship game was fun with it coming down to the wire," Winger said. "It was great to see all of our fans come out to Mountain View."
The Tigers entered the Class 3-A state tournament as a No. 1 seed and one of the favorites to compete for the title.
Glenrock surprised Lander in the opening round at the Casper Events Center. Wheatland eliminated the Tigers in consolation play on the second day.
"We had a really good season," Winger said. "We didn't perform as well as we would have liked at state, but you can't always judge a season on how you finish. We had a lot of success throughout the season."
Park County sweep
Winger said a highlight during the regular season came when the Tigers swept Cody and Powell in back-to-back home games at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.
"Getting two big wins against those guys was huge for our conference record." Winger said.
One of the pivotal moments for the Tigers came in the Class 3-A West regional semifinal game with Star Valley when Jess Oldham went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Oldham and Winger have been friends for a long time.
"We have been through a lot together," Winger said.
Oldham and Winger were soccer teammates at Lander as well.
"To see him go down like that in the semifinal game was pretty emotional," Winger said. "It was hard for our coaches, the rest of our players and our fans. It was a huge loss to the team because he was probably our best defender player."
The Lander senior started off the school year as part of the Class 3-A state championship run for the LVHS golf team.
"It was a heck of an experience," Winger said. "It was a weird setup with it snowy the first day."
Tournament officials scratched the first day, cutting the tournament to 18 holes.
Lander scored the lowest at 324 with Jackson second in 326.
"Being able to come together as a team was pretty cool for my first state championship," Winger said.
Winger had the entire month of October to rest for basketball season.
"It's not that bad going from golf to basketball because I have a lot weeks off there," Winger said.
After the state basketball tournament, Winger didn't have much rest at all.
"Going straight for basketball to soccer is pretty tough," Winger said.
Winger is now playing on the Lander Tigers soccer team coached by Dan Howlett.
After graduating, Winger is planning on attending the University of Wyoming.
He is going to study agriculture engineering.
Winger is a 4.0 student at Lander Valley High School. He will have earned 45 college credits before he ends high school in May.
"Playing sports helps to keep my grades up just because it gives me something to work for, so that I'm never ineligible," Winger said. "All the coaches at the high school really pound it that we have our grades up and that we are student athletes.
There are a lot of late nights."
By Randy Tucker
Wyoming Indian junior Loveeda White is Fremont County's Player of the Year in girls basketball.
White was the consistent cog in the Wyoming Indian machine this season. She led the Lady Chiefs in total points, 3-point shooting, rebounding and steals.
White averaged 15.1 points per game, third in the Southwest 2-A in scoring. She hit 30 3-pointers to pace the Chiefs' perimeter game. She snagged 100 defensive rebounds and added another 71 on the offensive end. She also paced Wyoming Indian in blocks and steals.
With all these superlatives White still had another challenge at midseason, when an illness set her back for a few weeks. She missed games while recuperating.
White played every position for head coach Aleta Moss and excelled inside at the post, from the perimeter, playing a wing, or off the drive when she played point guard.
White's versatility made her a tough player to defend, but her tenaciousness made her equally effective on the defensive end of the court.
White returns with a bevy of talented young players, and the Chief should once again be a contender next season.
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