Mustang Men’s Basketball will host a first-round game of the Region IX North Tournament at Western Wyoming Community College on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m. The third-seeded Mustangs will face sixth-seeded Central Wyoming College, whom they just defeated 90-75 on the road this past Saturday. Western also bested CWC 78-65 at home in Rushmore Gymnasium on Feb. 3.
“It’s not ideal to play the same team in the opening round of the tournament that you just played to end the regular season, but that’s just how things turned out,” Coach Ryan Orton said this week. Despite having notched two victories over Central this season, he said, the Mustangs will not be looking past the visiting Rustlers.
“They are a good team,” Orton emphasized. “To me, they’re the most complex team in the region to prepare for, because they run their stuff so well and they’re just so disciplined.”
The Mustangs finished 21-8 on the season and 8-4 in conference play. Gillette College led the North conference at 11 -1, followed by Casper College at 10-2. If Western defeats CWC for the third time this season on Saturday, they most likely will head to Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado, where the top-seeded Rattlers will host the main tournament provided they win their opening-round matchup on Saturday.
“We’re starting a new chapter of the season today,” Orton said. “We’ve got a lot of preparation to do.”
Mustang Women’s Basketball ended the regular season on a sour note with a 60-58 loss to Central Wyoming College on Saturday that followed a home loss to Sheridan College on Feb. 17, which was Sophomore Recognition Night. The Mustangs finished fifth in the Region IX North conference, which sets up a March 1 contest against Eastern Wyoming College, to which Western dropped an early-season tournament game 68-60 back on Dec. 5.
The Mustangs finished the regular season 14-12 and 6-7 in conference play.
“Up until the last few games, we were playing our best basketball of the season,” said Coach Garett Sherman. “It’s like our enthusiasm, our execution and our defense just weren’t there the last few games. We’re going to have to get some gas back in our tank.”
Sherman noted that his squad played a talented Casper team to within five points on the road back on Feb. 6, after having dropped a home contest 78-62 to the Thunderbirds the month before. If the Mustangs can overcome Eastern next week, they may get a third shot at region rival Casper in the next round.
The women’s tournament will be played at Gillette College beginning March 1.