The second half of conference play has arrived for the Laramie High School basketball teams. They play at Cheyenne East on Thursday.

Both teams split their road trip to Casper and Sheridan last weekend. The Laramie girl’s lost 61-37 to Natrona but bounced back with a 55-42 victory at Sheridan last Saturday. That victory stopped a six-game losing skid. The Plainsmen beat Natrona 53-51 on Garrett Dodd’s game-winning 3-pointer with just over 11 seconds left. They lost at Sheridan to the Bronc, 49-31.

Laramie Plainsmen

Laramie (10-7, 1-2) faces the top two teams in the rankings on Thursday and Friday night. First up is Cheyenne East (15-4, 2-1), who defeated the Plainsmen in Laramie on Jan. 22, 67-44.

LHS head coach Jim Shaffer believes his team is in a better position this time around.

“We’re a lot better off in terms of knowing who’s going to play where, being a little more secure at the point guard and being able to handle the pressure and some of those things. Last time we played ‘em we had one or two practices without Noah (Valdez – lost to an injury for the season). That was a tough week.”

With the Thunderbirds, Shaffer says it’s about their athleticism.

“Not a ton of size, not a ton of depth, but they’re unbelievably athletic. They’re going to pressure us. They want to play fast. We’ve got to be really good in defensive transition. We’ve got to take care of the basketball, so we’re not giving them easy opportunities off of their defense. We’ve also got to be really good in terms of shot selection and execution offensively, so we don’t put them in situations where it’s easy to run.”

Game time is at 7:30 p.m. from the Thunderdome at Cheyenne East High School.

Laramie Lady Plainsmen

Laramie (4-13, 0-3) takes on two of the top three girls’ teams in Class 4A on Thursday and Friday night. The first challenge is No. 3 Cheyenne East (16-3, 2-1). The Thunderbirds beat LHS in Laramie on Jan. 22, 69-38.

Lady Plainsmen head coach Rod Tyson says this second time around, he hopes to see continued improvement from his squad.

“I hope that we’re a little smarter and starting to cut down turnovers, or at least see where we’re supposed to pass instead of just catching and turning the ball over like we’ve been doing. We did a little bit of that in both games last week, but we also had opportunities to turn it over and they did a good job of pivoting and finding the open person.”

As for the rematch against the Thunderbirds, Tyson says Cheyenne East has a lot more depth than we do.

“If we ever get into any foul trouble, whatsoever, then we start dropping off quickly. Hopefully, some of the girls will step up. Kayla (Vasquez) will hopefully knock down some shots this time around. She’s starting to get a little more confident. We’ve just got to play smarter and better.”

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. at Cheyenne East High School’s Thunderdome.

Broadcast Coverage

KOWB Radio (AM 1290) will have live coverage from Cheyenne. David Settle will call the action. Coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the radio, online or through the KOWB app.

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