From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 49 - February 28, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Pinedale To Host First Regional In More Than 20 Years

by Trey Wilkinson

It was back in the 1980s when Pinedale High School (PHS) hosted its last high school regional basketball tournament, and a lot has changed since that time.

In 2005 a rotational tournament schedule moved the tournament sites throughout the 3A West Conference, landing PHS in the 2008 slot. According to PHS boys head coach Mike Davis, this is only the second time Pinedale has hosted the tournament that he is aware of.

“We are extremely excited about hosting the 3A West regional tournament,” he said. “It gives the town of Pinedale an opportunity to show how much pride we have in our schools and in supporting student athletes.”

PHS Activities Director (AD) Jeff Makelky agreed with Davis.

“Hosting the tournament should give our teams a huge boost and it also provides an opportunity for our entire school community to become more united and display a sense of pride in PHS,” Makelky said.

Home court advantage is one of the things hosting a tournament of this magnitude can provide.

PHS girls head coach Michelle Busch is hoping playing in Pinedale will do just that.

“The Lady Wranglers play pretty well on their home courts,” she said. “I am hoping that being at home and not having the added stress of being away in a hotel will help us be more focused and determined to play our best.”

Davis feels the home court advantage is their to an extent, but knows his team must showup to play.

“It will be nice to have some home-cooked meals and be able to sleep at home,” he said. “But that only translates to an advantage if we play at the highest level we are capable of. I have been to other regionals where the host team failed to advance to the state tourney.”

A home court advantage isn’t all a regional tournament brings to a town or city though.

“This givesus a rare chance to illustrate what Pinedale is all about,” Davis said.

Things have certainly changed since the 1980s and PHS and the town will be looking to show off the growth and positive things going on in Pinedale.

“Pinedale has a lot of great characteristics and qualities that not many people know about,” Busch said. “We have a great ‘playground’ in our back yard with the Wind River Range, the Upper Green and all the lakes in the surrounding area. It’s too bad we couldn’t schedule some snowmobile tours in a team’s off-time and take them over Union Pass for a few hours.”

Still Makelky thinks there will be plenty of other things for the visitors to do in Pinedale.

“This is agreat opportunity for our community to show our hospitality and the pride that we have to our neighbors in western Wyoming,” Makelky said. “I would think the restaurants and motels will be bursting at the seems.”

One question that has been raised is the amount of space needed to host 16 teams and if that will be a concern.

“Our biggest concerns involve having only two locker rooms for 16 teams that are mixed gender,” Makelky said. “So as a girls game is being played we have to get the boys in the same locker room ready to be up next. We are informally dividing the locker rooms and asking the respective coaches to supervise their teams at all times when players are in the locker rooms. Of course, the boys and girls won’t be in there during the same times, but it will require a lot of coordination throughout the tournament.”

Davis has no doubt the PHS staff can handle the space issues; in fact, he took the question lightly saying the only problem he saw concerning a lack of space was “against Lovell’s Zone D” if Pinedale were to match up with them.

“Our AD’s office, Jeff Makelky and Jennifer Proud, the Pinedale Coaches Association and the Pinedale Booster Club have worked hard to ensure that all the logistics of hosting seven other schools have been addressed,” Davis said.

So what kind of turnout is expected to hit Pinedale today?

“Well there will be 16 teams playing for eight spots in the state tourney,” Davis said. “All of the schools have larger populations and student enrollments than we do. Thus they have a significant number of fans that follow them. Turnouts should be big and fans will surely see a lot of exciting basketball.”

And big numbers could mean good things for the town.

“I’m sure we’ll pack the house if the weather cooperates,” Makelky said.

Games will begin in the Wrangler Gym this morning at 9 a.m. as the Jackson girls team will square off against the Kemmerer girls. The Pinedale Lady Wranglers are scheduled to take to the hardwood at 7 p.m. with the boys following at 8:30 p.m. Games will run through Saturday evening with the two championship matches set for 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The PHS staff is still looking for volunteers to take tickets and supervise at various times throughout the tournament. People interested can contact Makelky at 367-2137, ext.4444.

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