Feb 29, 2012 - By Steven R. PeckRiverton High School hasn't sent many basketball teams to the state tournament in recent years. The games that will determine this year's state-tournament fate are about to be played again.
Some seasons you have the right combination of players, coaching, luck and opponent strength that plays into a trip to state, some seasons you don't.
That's simply a fact of life in high school sports. Occasionally there is an ongoing advantage of enrollment for a school, or an inexplicable gold mine of talent in a particular place, but for the most part a team is up or down depending on whether the right crop of kids comes along at the right time.
It's been almost a decade since the Wolverine girls went to state, and the boys have made it just once in that same span.
The make-it-to-state hurdle has arrived anew. To get to Wyoming's version of the big dance this year, the RHS teams have a straightforward assignment: win their first-round games at the Class 4-A West regional tournament Thursday, March 1.
The boys play the Rock Springs Tigers, a team they've beaten twice this season, both in hard-fought games.
The girls play the Evanston Red Devils, a team they lost to Saturday to close the regular season, but against whom they played their best quarter of the season, building a nice lead at one point.
If the Wolverine teams win, they're in. If they lose, their season is over.
Here's the best part of the challenge: The tournament is being held in Riverton, at Wolverine Gym, their home floor.
That means the community can give the Riverton boys and girls a huge boost by filling the gym with enthusiastic, loyal, loud fans.
We can do it. But will we?
The home-court advantage at tournament time comes only rarely. This is our year to get it. It mustn't be squandered. No one can predict with certainty whether our teams will win or lose, but we can guarantee that they will play with a big, supportive crowd in the stands.
So let's fill the place at 4 p.m. Thursday for the girls, 5:30 p.m. for the boys.
Let's have the band, the cheerleaders, the student body, the faculty and staff, and the community faithful there in force.
Longtime basketball watchers say a roaring home crowd can be worth 10 points a game. There probably are studies to prove it.
And if there aren't, we can do the proving ourselves.
Be there Thursday.
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