The Cheyenne East Thunderbirds (17-2, 4-0) defeated the Laramie Plainsmen (7-11, 1-3) 76-55 in a difficult basketball game at Laramie High School on Valentine’s Day.  

Laramie struggled to keep up against the Thunderbirds’ offensive lead early in the first half, falling behind by 15 points.

 “East is one of the best teams in the state,” Assistant coach Dan Bleak said. “They have good guard play. Some of the East players are very skilled offensively, so that puts a lot of pressure on our defense.”

However, didn’t go down without a fight.  The Plainsmen gave East a fright during the third quarter when they caught up within 10 points from East by keeping the ball moving and closing out shooters from East.  

“I think that we made a pretty good run in third quarter and got it down to 10 points and got the momentum swinging,” Bleak said. “One of the things that was much better in the second half was that we did not give up transition points in the second half compared to how we did in the first half.”

Despite East’s talent and victory that night, the Laramie Plainsmen were able to keep East’s offensive lead in check through their teamwork, competitiveness, and grit.  

“It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with the guys,” Senior Will Tyser said. “We just continue to work hard, and I feel that we will do good.”

The coaches also noticed this teamwork throughout the game.

 “I think tonight, it was really a team effort,” Bleak said.

“Hudda Herrera stepped up big in the second half (He scored a game high 19 points during the game). You could name Brady Epler and Shane Forry for their defensive tough mindedness, and you could look at Will Tyser and the way he handled the offense and got the ball moving.  Everyone in the team made some good contributions.”

The Plainsmen are looking forward now to finishing off the season with games against Central and South, and head towards Regionals in two weeks.  

Despite Laramie’s record with seven wins and 11 losses throughout the season, the team isn’t fazed by it.  

“The goal is not to be the best team right now, but the goal is to be a really competitive team in two weeks at Regionals with the opportunity to qualify for state,” Bleak said.  “If we play our style of basketball by moving the ball and using our team, then we should win,” Senior Hudda Hererra said.

“I think our competitiveness is going to be one of our strengths here as we close out the season,” Bleak said.  “I think the guys are continuing to grow as players. They’re showing grit at different times. Our challenge right now is consistency.  We’ve got to keep working on being consistent throughout the game.”

“It’s a team that continues to battle to the very end,” Bleak said.