by nathan oster
With Christmas now in the rear-view mirror, the Greybull Buffs went back to work this week, gearing up for the resumption of their boys and girls basketball and wrestling seasons.
All three squads return to action next week — each with a big road test.
Greybull-Riverside ended the month of December where it began, ranked among the top five 2A teams in the state on wyowrestling.com.
The matmen will open the 2016 portion of their slate at the Big Horn County Dual Championships Thursday, Jan. 7 in Cowley. Rocky Mountain is hosting this year’s duals, which will see G-R face off against both the Grizzlies and the Bulldogs of Lovell High School.
In his final interview before the break, Coach Mark Sanford said he expected both Lovell and Rocky Mountain to be formidable opponents for his team, which had three open spots in its lineup for most of the Wright Christmas Duals.
Lovell won last year’s duals.
G-R was third, but won the event in 2014.
The wrestlers will follow that up with a trip to Shoshoni for the Wrangler Duals on Saturday, Jan. 9.
There’s good news to report on the local basketball front, which was quiet as a church mouse in December while Greybull’s varsity and junior varsity teams competed at tournaments in Wright, Glenrock and Lusk.
The Buffs won’t be at home — that doesn’t happen until Jan. 23 tilts against Rocky Mountain — but they will be playing several games in Big Horn County during the first week in January.
The boys and girls will be in Burlington for games at 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Then it’s on to the Big Horn Basin Basketball Classic, which will play out Thursday, Jan. 7 through Saturday, Jan. 9 in Lovell (boys) and Cowley (girls).
Another name for the boys bracket could be the Clash of Champions, as the tournament will bring together three of the four state champions from a year ago, including Burlington (1A), Wind River (2A) and Buffalo (3A), plus 3A contenders Worland, Lander and Powell.
Greybull opens with a 1:30 p.m. game against Wright on Friday, Jan. 8 at Northwest College.
The Buffs crushed the Panthers in December, and if they can get past them again, they’d face the winner of the Wind River-Ten Sleep game in a 7:30 p.m. contest later that evening at Lovell High School.
Wind River defeated Greybull in the state semifinals this year, is 7-0 and top-ranked in 2A.
Also on Greybull’s side of the bracket are Lander, Glenrock, Wyoming Indian and Burlington.
The other side of the bracket consists of Buffalo, Lovell, Thermopolis, Worland, Riverside, Powell and Rocky Mountain.
The girls tournament will play out in Cowley. The Lady Buffs open against Powell, with a 6 p.m. game on tap on Thursday, Jan. 7. Win or lose, their next opponent will be either Wyoming Indian or Glenrock. Also on the Greybull side of the bracket are Worland, Lander and Riverside.
In opening round action on the other side of the bracket, Rocky Mountain faces Burlington, Buffalo plays Wright, Thermopolis tangles with Wind River and Lovell has a bye.