by nathan oster
2018 begins will begin with a bang if you are a high school basketball fan in the Big Horn Basin.
It’s time for the Shootout, two days of nearly nonstop basketball to decide who is fit to wear the crown as the best boys and girls teams in the area.
Lovell and Cowley will be the host sites of the girls tournament, while the boys will be playing in Worland and Thermopolis.
The teams with the best records going in are Rocky Mountain, which at 6-0 is the lone unbeaten; Wyoming Indian, at 9-1; and Burlington, at 4-1.
The Huskies and the Chiefs will meet in one of the marquee matchups of the opening round, tipping off at 12:30 p.m. in Thermopolis.
Greybull, at 5-3, and Riverside, at 0-4, find themselves on the same side of the bracket and could face off in the second round.
The Buffs play 6-2 Wind River in the 9:30 a.m. game in Worland.
After that, the Rebels take on 2-2 Powell, tipping off at 11 a.m.
The afternoon games in Worland will pit the host Warriors against 4-4 Glenrock at 12:30 p.m., followed by Rocky Mountain vs. 2-4 Lander at 2 p.m
Opening round action in Thermopolis, meanwhile, pits 0-3 Thermopolis against 3-2 Lovell at 9:30 a.m., 6-2 Cody versus 0-6 Shoshoni in the 11 a.m. game, followed by the Chiefs and the Huskies at 12:30 p.m., then 4-3 Buffalo versus 3-5 Wright at 2 p.m.
At both sites, losers bracket games follow at 3:30 and 5 p.m., winners bracket games at 6:30 and 8 p.m.
The championship game of the tournament is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. in Thermopolis.
Rocky Mountain is also the only unbeaten team in the girls field, with a 6-0 mark.
Two teams have only one loss — Greybull, at 6-1, and Powell, at 3-1.
All three teams are in the Rocky Mountain bracket, putting their games in Cowley.
The opening-round matchups feature Powell against 1-4 Burlington at 10:30 a.m., Greybull against 3-4 Wind River at noon, 0-2 Worland against 1-3 Riverside at 1:30 p.m. and the Grizzlies against 0-6 Glenrock at 3 p.m.
Opening-round games in Lovell include 3-4 Cody and 2-4 Thermopolis tipping off at 10:30 a.m., 3-2 Lovell facing 5-2 Buffalo at noon, 3-3 Lander battling 4-2 Shoshoni at 1:30 p.m. and 7-3 Wyoming Indian facing 3-3 Wright at 3 p.m.
For the teams that open with a win, second-round play will follow at both locations, with contests planned at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Second-round play in the losers’ bracket will begin on Saturday morning, again at both locations.
The championship game will be played at 6 p.m. in Lovell.