At a Glance …
Little Snake River Valley participants in WCA All-Star games:
Miles Englehart – 8 points
Rex Stanley – 8 points
Morgan Wille – 12 points
Daniel Wille – 17 points
“It was disappointing be the only 1A girl on the team, but it ended up being one of the most fun weeks I’ve had in a long time. Meeting those girls and seeing their style of play and being accepted into the team, it really shows you at that level how it can come together.”
—Morgan Wille, LSRV graduate, about practicing and playing in the WCA girls all-star game
Playing the final game of a career can often be bittersweet.
For four recent graduates of Little Snake River Valley High School, their high school basketball careers were extended by one more game.
LSRV had three boys and one girl selected to play in the Wyoming Coaches Association All-Star basketball games Saturday.
The games pit the top 10 graduated seniors from the Northern Wyoming against the 10 best from Southern Wyoming, with at least one player from each class 1A through 4A being chosen.
Morgan Wille was the only 1A player chosen for the girls’ south team, while Daniel Wille, Rex Stanley and Miles Englehart all played for the boys’ south team.
Despite playing with and against some bigger, stronger and quicker competition than is always present in 1A competiton, the Rattlers players proved they had earned their spots.
Daniel Wille scored 17 points, second-most on the south team, while Stanley and Englehart each chipped in eight. Morgan Wille, who was also selected to play in the WCA volleyball all-star game, scored 12 for the girls team.
Both south teams won in high-scoring affairs. The boys won, 97-85, and the girls pulled away in the second half for a 92-74 win.
LSRV girls basketball coach Jodi Stanley was an assistant coach for the girls team, and said the game was a fun time.
“We had 10 players on the team and all 10 of them are going to college to play sports,” she said. “It’s fun to work with that caliber of athlete and it was fun to watch Morgan play with them.”
Morgan Wille was excited to get her invitation to play for the team, but was disappointed at first to find she wouldn’t be playing with any familiar faces.
“It was disappointing be the only 1A girl on the team, but it ended up being one of the most fun weeks I’ve had in a long time,” she said. “Meeting those girls and seeing their style of play and being accepted into the team, it really shows you at that level how it can come together.”
Players got to practice with their teammates for a week in Casper, Wyo., leading up to the game. Learning to play with new teammates is something the boys have had to do before.
Several 6-man football players from LSRV played in a Nebraska-Wyoming all-star game June 30, and learned to play with some players had previously been rivals.
In this game, though, they were teaming up with many athletes they had never played.
“It was kids that you had seen play at the state tournament and sort of thought it would be fun to go against them or play with them,” Daniel Wille said. “We got that opportunity and it was fun.”
Rex Stanley said some of the 4A players were quicker and bigger than the average 1A players, but at LSRV they were used to overcoming size.
“They had a size advantage on us, but we were used to it. That’s what I thought right as we started playing, that we could play with these guys,” he said. “Our team was great, we clicked pretty well so that made it a pretty enjoyable time.”
For most of their minutes, all three LSRV boys were on the court at the same time, which Daniel Wille said made the game come to them easily.
“There was no question once we all had those uniforms on. When us three were playing, you couldn’t tell the difference between us and the 4A guys,” he said. “We were going at the other team’s 4A guys just like we were going at the 2A guys. The whole experience was fun.”
With the conclusion of the all-star games, the LSRV athletes’ high school careers are over. Daniel Wille said it was a good way to go out.
“It was a great one to go out on. All three of us played together and fed off each other,” he said. “Being at Casper, it almost felt like a state game. When you go out there like that, that’s when you realize that you’re going to miss it. But it was great to go out with a win.”
Rex Stanley, originally the first alternate to the team, was happy to have the chance to play one more game.
“The game was awesome. It’s probably the last time I’ll play organized basketball like that,” he said. “It was a great week, and an awesome way to go out.”
Morgan Wille said she would recommend taking advantage of these chances to anyone with an opportunity in the future.
“If anybody hadd the opportunity I would tell them to do it,” she said. “It’s a blast to go and practice and learn. You just hang out for the whole week, solid, you get to see great players play and have fun in between.”
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