Jun 13, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe thought of his sister's death almost stopped John Soundingsides from playing in the Wyoming-Montana basketball series.
Diana Soundingsides was killed May 31 in a car wreck on Interstate 25 between Casper and Buffalo as she returned from activities for the Wyoming-South Dakota all-star series. Her funeral services were June 7 at Wyoming Indian High School. Edward Wadda also died in the crash.
John Soundingsides didn't play in the series with South Dakota, but family members decided it was time for the Wyoming Indian all-state basketball player to get back on the court for the Montana games.
"I knew that my sister wanted me to play," Soundingsides said. "It was a good experience for me. My sister meant a lot to me.
I couldn't really decide if I wanted to play. In the last minute, I decided to play."
Soundingsides didn't make any practices before the all-star series started.
"John had a lot to deal with," Sheridan College assistant men's basketball coach Dan MaGrino said.
"All the guys took him in. He fit in right away. He didn't know all the plays. He gave a great effort.
He came out without any fear."
The series is for the top basketball players the two states have to offer.
Soundingsides helped Wyoming Indian win a Class 2-A title in March at the Casper Events Center.
It was the Chiefs third title in four years.
Soundingsides was the 2012 Fremont County basketball Player of the Year.
Montana swept the Wyoming all-stars in the annual series, downing Wyoming 80-69 Friday night at Sheridan College and 75-71 in the second game Saturday night in Billings. Mont.
MaGrino said Soundingsides had several fans in the stands watching him play his final high school basketball game.
"John was focused," MaGrino said.
"He came out and made some great plays right away. The game meant a lot to him an his family."
Soundingsides said he is close to signing a basketball letter of intent to play at Minnesota West Community Technical College.
"It was pretty fun to play," Soundingsides said.
"I had fun meeting new players and playing with guys from Class 3-A and 4-A."
Soundingsides finished the first game scoring seven points.
"I was a little bit nervous when I got in there," Soundingsides.
Montana took control of the contest when the all-stars outscored Wyoming 28-16 in the second quarter. Torrington's Jason McManamen led Wyoming with 12 points. McManamen is playing basketball for the University of Wyoming in the fall.
"I got some pretty good playing time in the first game," Soundingsides.
Soundingsides said he hit one 3-pointer in the game.
"I was a little off in the first game," Soundingsides said.
Soundingsides started in the second game and scored the first five points for Wyoming. Soundingsides finished with eight points in the four-point loss.
"The second game was a little better," Soundingsides said.
MaGrino said Soundingsides made his mark with some tremendous passes in the series.
"A lot of his shots in the first evening looked like they were going to go in," MaGrino said. "He really brought a lot of energy to the team."
McManamen scored 22 points for team-high efforts. Chase Riley from Rock Springs put in 14.
Montana all-stars 75,
(Saturday night in Billings, Mont)
Montana 15 16 23 21 -- 75
Wyoming 19 14 20 18 -- 71
Wyoming scores: Tate Hilgenkamp, Laramie, 7; Hunter Reece, Sheridan, 5; Cory Peck, Casper Natrona, 5; John Soundingsides, Wyoming Indian, 8; Chase Riley, Rock Springs, 14; Jason McManamen, Torrington, 22; Cody Anderson, Gillette, 1; Timmy Benedict, Wright, 2; Taylor Millay, Glenrock, 5.
Montana scores: Bobby Anderson, Laurel, 3; Ryan Burke, Billings, Central, 8; Brady Gustafson, Billings West, 8; Riley King, Missoula Sentinel, 25; Danny Robison, Billings West, 18; Josh Schultz, Stevensville, 2; Shyke Smalls, Great Falls, 14.
Montana all-stars 80, Wyoming 69
(Friday night in Sheridan)
Montana 13 28 21 18 -- 80
Wyoming 16 16 11 26 -- 69
Wyoming scores: Tate Hilgenkamp, Laramie, 5; Hunter Reece, Sheridan, 6; Cory Peck, Natrona, 8; Chase Riley, 10; John Soundingsides, 7; Riley Ryan, Sheridan, 9; Jason McManamen, 12; Cody Anderson, 4; Timmy Benedict, Wright, 4; Taylor Millay, Glenrock, 4.
Montana scores -- Bobby Anderson, Laurel, 9; Jace Anderson, Sace/Whitewater, 2; Ryan Burke, Billings, Central, 6; Brady Gustafson, Billings West, 2; Tanner Hupka, Manhattan, 17; Riley King, Missoula Sentinel, 10; Wes Knox, Dillon, 3; Danny Robinson, Billings West, 8; Josh Schultz, Stevensville, 7; Shyke Smalls, Great Falls, 16.
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