TORRINGTON – Torrington, Southeast and Lingle-Fort Laramie basketball teams wrapped up the summer workouts with a series of triangulars on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The series started on Monday evening inside Willi Gym before moving onto Yoder and Southeast High School on Wednesday. The triangular series wraps up Friday in Lingle. LFL and Torrington play at 5 p.m., and Torrington and Southeast play at 6 p.m. The Doggers and Cyclones wrap up action at 7 p.m.
“I just felt like we had three varsity teams in the district that might as well use each other,” THS coach Logan Barker said. “Goshen County basketball should be known for something.”
It provided the teams a chance to play six games over the course of the week to work on different things and improve as the summer comes to a close.
Games featured four 10-minute, running-clock quarters.
The Blazers went 1-1 on Monday, falling to the LFL Doggers 52-43 but defeating Southeast 53-33.
Torrington has been busy all summer with multiple team camps and open gyms, allowing the team to bond even closer.
“It’s been really good. We’ve had about 15 kids every open gym,” Barker said. “They are really bonding together as a team. We’ve got to go to two team camps this year that really helped get us closer together. We are pretty young, but there is a lot of upside to this team. Hopefully we can do some good things.”
This week’s games allowed them to get some critical game experience.
“It’s always tough to get kids in here that are in basketball shape and expect them to go 100 mph like you’d like them to. It takes a little more patience on my end and working on sharpening some more skills. We’ve done a lot of shooting work and a lot of finishing work. Hopefully those developmental skills will help when the season gets here. It’s been a really good summer for them so far.”
One of the bright spots on Monday was sophomore Ned Nelson.
“He has put in a lot work. We track all of our data over the summer, and he’s put in some work,” Barker said. “He’s at the top of our Blazer shooting chart at the moment. I’m proud of how hard he’s worked, and he’s not there yet. None of our guys are there yet.”
Throughout the week, Barker hoped to see many different looks both offensively and defensively only adding to the game experience for his team.
“I’m excited to see some different looks offensively and defensively that we can then take to the season in the sense they’ve had the game experience when we get to the season. That way it won’t be a shock for them.”
The Doggers went 2-0 with a 52-43 win over Torrington and 42-38 victory over Southeast.
“It’s about experience,” LFL coach Chris Cook said. “This was coach Barker’s idea, and it’s a great idea to allow our kids to play a little bit more over the summer. We don’t have to travel somewhere or pay somewhere to play.”
Cook added it’s gives the team a reward for all the hard work and camps the team has attended over the summer to put it all together in a game situation.
“We are trying to play everyone, but we are trying to compete too,” Cook said. “We’ve got a lot of tools and plug in holes to see what works and what doesn’t.”
It also gave the Doggers an incentive to keep coming to open gyms as the team continues to mesh before the start of the football practice later this month.
Despite still being a youthful team, the Doggers have added one key senior to the roster in all-stater and Guernsey transfer Brian McCoid.
“His basketball IQ is so high. That’s the best part about him,” Cook said of McCoid. “He’s been a great mix with our kids. He’s excited to be there, and he’s excited to be a leader. He’s learning on the go what we are trying to do. We’ve got a guy who is a seasoned veteran who is an all-state player, but he is also willing to help us do whatever he can do. He brings another dimension to help us out.”
As the week winds down, Cook wants to see continued improvement out of his team.
“They are going to try to do something different these next two games, and honestly, we played Torrington pretty well and were flat against Southeast,” he said. “We want to build on what we did today and get better.”
The Cyclones went 0-2 with a 42-38 loss to Lingle and a 53-33 loss to Torrington.
“It’s been a long time since the Goshen County schools have played each other, even in summer camps,” Cyclone coach Craig Leithead said. “It’s awesome. Coach Barker put this together, and it’s a great thing. I’d love to do this every year.”
Over the summer, Leithead said two players have shown a lot of improvement – senior Austin Short and junior Cole Sauer.
“A couple of our players have had a tremendous amount of improvement. Austin has shown improvement. Cole has shown a ton of improvement. He’s been working hard this summer, showing up to a lot of open gyms,” Leithead said. “Seems like they flow really well together, and the starting five we had, just played basketball really well together.”
Over the course of the two games, Leithead gave everyone plenty of playing time.
“That was a pretty core part of our group. We had a couple pieces missing here and there. I’ve enjoyed the summer camp and letting kids play basketball,” Leithead said. “That’s what summer camps are for in my opinion.”