High school basketball returns Friday after a 2-week holiday break. The Jackson Broncs girls and boys teams travel to Lander to take on the Lander Valley Tigers.
Girls going strong
The Lady Broncs (2-1) just want to keep it rolling. The girls have won their last two games after dropping their opener back on December 10. The Lady Tigers (3-3) come in riding a 2-game winning streak of their own.
It’s a step down in class as Jackson is ranked 9th in the 4A while Lander Valley is ranked 6th in the 3A.
Jackson coach Andrea Joyce expects the Lady Tigers to try a press when they can. Lander’s coach Serol Stauffenberg says his team has been employing fullcourt pressure when they can but so far he’s not ready to show it often.
Joyce wants to make sure her bigs—Rachel Noyce, Karsen Breeding, and Gracie Hardeman—can convert from the free throw line as she expects them to get fouled a lot by the smaller Lady Tigers. Joyce is also expecting Lander to switch into a zone down low to deal with Jackson’s size.
“I think if we really start doing well inside they might switch to that,” Joyce said.
Coach Stauffenberg, meanwhile, sees these two teams as very evenly matched with similar outcomes against two common opponents. He has seen Jackson on film
“The [Karsen] Breeding girl was a surprise last year as a freshman but obviously we are aware of her now,” Stauffenberg said.
Boys need to rebound
The boys had to stare at their 0-3 record for the past two weeks. That is either motivating or demoralizing.
“The Teton loss hurts a little bit; left a sour taste in our mouth. When we know we could be 2-1 headed into break with 2 1/2 weeks off that doesn’t feel real good,” coach Hayden Hatfield said. “But we’ve made the most of it with 9 or 10 practices since then. Every day but Christmas.”
Watching film, Hatfield saw a team that was standing around too much on offense so the Broncs have been working on their halfcourt offense.
Jackson will have to take care of the basketball. The Tigers are a handsy bunch who always seem to anticipate passes and jump into passing lanes. Last year, Lander Valley led the state in points off turnovers.
“They are a pretty athletic team with some strength to them,” Hatfield said. “Eleven [point guard Tisso Guino] is a great player. He was a great player last year as a junior. Lopez and Stauffenberg are also really good players.”
Hatfield believes the Broncs can take advantage of their bigger size.
Lander Valley coach Stu Mullins agreed about the athleticism and the size.
“We are a little bit more athletic this year than in the past, so we are able to control ball handlers a little more differently. But we are not as big as we’ve been in the past so we have to work on positioning in the rebounding game,” Mullins said.
“Oh man, from afar I’ve just been impressed with the building of this Jackson Hole program. I was impressed with them last year. I think we stuck ‘em pretty good in both games last year, bit you could just tell this was going to be a team to reckon with,” Mullins said. “And you can’t teach size. To have two kids like that [Andrey Hanna and Gavin Keelin] they are going to be tough for a long time.”
Jackson vs Lander Valley at the Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse in Lander, Wyoming. Girls tap at 5pm, boys at 6:30pm. Play-by-play coverage on KZ95 and the SVI Sports Network.