The Star Valley Braves (2-2) will be renewing a hardwood rivalry with the Sugar-Salem Diggers (3-1) on Thursday night in Afton as they continue their 2023-24 campaign.
Join Duke Dance, Dahl Erickson and the SVI Crew as they bring you the game from Star Valley High School beginning with the First Bank of Wyoming Countdown to Tip-off at 7 p.m.
High-quality audio of the game will also be provided via traditional radio in the Star Valley area on Swift 98.7 FM.
Online audio of the game can also be found here and on the SVI News App.
•Braves pick up pair of wins at Strannigan Invite
◆ First home game is Thursday against Sugar-Salem.
By Dahl Erickson, SVI Media –
Long-time basketball coach, Matt Shumway, started his head coaching journey at Star Valley High School on Thursday evening as the new-look Braves went up against Cheyenne Central; ranked #5 to open the season by the wyopreps.com Media and Coaches Poll. The Indians jumped out on Star Valley with a 22-point opening quarter en route to a 71-48 final.
The next day started off with a bit of a defensive battle early on in a true road game against 3A Lander. The Braves were able to put the clamps on the Tigers and find the basket as they pulled away for a one-sided 59-32 final. It was the first of two Friday games as the team moved back over to Riverton Middle School to face the defending Wyoming 4A Champion Cheyenne East Thunderbirds; ranked #1 to start the season.
The Braves kept the game within single digits for most of the contest and a stretch of five consecutive missed free throws and a pair of turnovers turned a potentially exciting finish into a routine 61-46 East victory. Still, it was a game where a team that still is looking for their main rotation hung with the defending champ for most of the game. Kash Lancaster lead the team with 14 points.
“I was pleased with the progress from the weekend,” Shumway stated. “Central really got after us and we were little over- whelmed. I thought the kids responded well the next three games. We made our share of mistakes but overall I loved the ef- fort and competitiveness.”
The final day was a contest against the Sheridan Broncs as the 4A football champs and 3A football champs met on a middle school court for a physical clash that most fans could see coming a mile away.
The Braves got early contributions from Simon Gaskell before the big senior had to leave with an ankle injury. Likewise, Cael Hamrick suffered a hand injury for the Broncs after a quick start. The Braves defense was the difference in the contest, holding Sheridan to just 34 points in a 44-34 win. Max Jensen led the team with 16 points and Cooper Lancaster finished with 10.
This week the Braves open up with a home game on Thursday against Sugar-Salem with a 7:30 varsity start. The team will play both Thunder Basin and Natrona County on Friday from the Flaming Gorge Classic and wrap the week with a game against Cheyenne South.
“The biggest thing I’d like to see is the cleanliness of our execution and to read and react instead of being too robotic,” Shumway said. “I’d like to see us be more comfortable. We should be able to take a step in the right direction with that. We may be a little shorthand but defensively we are starting to see the rotation we need to make. We are seeing it but we need to see it a bit sooner.”