SHERIDAN — Hailey Ligocki isn’t approaching this weekend’s Wyoming-Montana All-Star series as her last game at home.
The Milward Simpson finalist from Sheridan and Wyoming Cowgirls basketball-bound Ligocki leads a Wyoming squad with 10 girls headed for college basketball.
“Really it’s just about having fun, but we’d like to win too,” she said Wednesday afternoon. Boys and girls Wyoming All-Stars met for the first time this week at Kendrick Park, served lunch by the Lion’s Club, a yearly tradition. “This team knows that Montana is usually pretty tough, but it’s good to be together in Sheridan.
“I don’t look at it as a last opportunity at home, just another opportunity,” she said.
The team is made up of mostly the same group of 10 girls that swept the South Dakota series last weekend. Ligocki scored 17 points in the Saturday win, followed by Gillette-natives Dani Williams and Sierra Toms with 11 each.
Toms is headed for Sheridan College next year, while Williams heads for the University of Mary in North Dakota. Toms and Katie Kuhn of Laramie will play their first game for Sheridan College head coach Frank McCarthy before they do so full-time in the fall.
“There’s no question about it, it’s good to get them here,” McCarthy said. “We kind of get to know them a little bit too. Both Katie and Sierra are good players, they’ll represent our state well. Any extra time we can get with our players is good.”
Mali Wright is the only other Sheridan County player in the weekend series as no boys will play this weekend.
“We’re really close for just playing together for two weeks,” Wright said of her all-star teammates. She scored eight points last weekend in the combined two wins, and will head for Newman University in Kansas where she plans to play volleyball and basketball.
“It’s a great group to be a part of,” she said.
The girls play at 6 p.m., tomorrow at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome, followed by the boys at 8.
For the boys squad, a guard-heavy group faces the always-tough Montana All-Stars. The Wyoming boys fell twice in South Dakota and will look to bounce back against a 2013 Montana squad led by Ryan Edwards, a 7-foot post from Glacier headed for Gonzaga University.
Sheridan College men’s coach Steve Smiley will lead the boys, and after seeing his squad for the first time last night in a scrimmage against Gillette players, he liked what he saw.
“It worked out well because I was able to get a feel for our kids early in the process,” Smiley said. “That’s pretty much the majority of what we’ve got is guard play, and I feel pretty good about it. They’re good sized and they can shot a little bit and play different positions, so we have a lot of diversity in that.”
Montana brings a class-squad each year, but Smiley was confident they’d give them a run for their money. He said they don’t try to implement too much in the two days of preparation, just a little bit of continuity-based offense and things defensively to disrupt Montana.
“Watching our guys last night, its a scrappy bunch,” Smiley said. “We have more of an inside game than we expected, with Lucas Watkins and Seth Quayle inside. They’re scrappy and there’s definitely a toughness to this team. I had a good time watching them yesterday, I think we’ll be very competitive.”
While no Sheridan kids will play on this year’s team, it’s just a short trip over the mountain for one Ten Sleep player bound for Gillette College hoops this fall. Sheridan College Friday night will serve as a preview of next-level ball for Logan Burningham.
“They had some good shooters, I think they hit like 20 threes on Friday and 15 in the second game,” Burningham laughed about the South Dakota series at the luncheon Wednesday. “It’s fun to play with these guys, we’re even starting to get some chemistry in the short time we’ve been together.
“Just being the competitive person I am, I kind of want to win, but it’s fun too,” he said.
Teams play Saturday at the same times at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.
Wyo Girls: Shanda Post, Lander; Mali Wright, Sheridan; Dani Williams, Gillette; Kassidy Scott, Douglas; Katie Kuhn, Laramie; Sierra Toms, Gillette; Dana Bjorhus, Thermopolis; Elissa Johnson, Cheyenne; Hailey Ligocki, Sheridan; McCorra Ford, Gillette. Coach Frank McCarthy, assistant coaches Sandy Michelena and Jesse Bedell
Wyo Boys: Marshall McArthur, Powell; Kade Salisbury; Riverton; Logan Wasson, Gillette; Tyler Loose, Laramie; Seth Quayle, Riverton; Wyatt Shinaver, Star Valley; Logan Burningham, Ten Sleep; Lucas Watkins, Lander; Xavier Webb, Riverton, Samuel Hainline, Laramie. Coach Steve Smiley, assistant coach Dan Magrino