Seniors and their family parade across the court to the cheers of friends, family and fans before their last home game. A game that would keep everyone on the edge of their seats, and the first step to earning second seed in the quadrant.
The boys faced off against No.1 Newcastle in a nail-biter upset that would leave the Bearcats on top 76-70 after two overtimes.
The roar of the crowd was deafening.
The Bearcats seem to be finding their pace, winning three of the last four games, including Friday’s victory over Worland 48-43 in front of the home crowd.
Harley Rhoades has put countless practice hours on the court and football field over the past four years. And now his hard work and dedication are paying off.
“Harley has been playing varsity basketball since his freshman year and it’s really hard for me to believe this is our last ride together,” coach Lee Toldson said Monday. “Harley has been a great role model on and off the court for our program. He’s a great leader, teammate and most of all a great person. Harley, thank you for all your hard work and commitment to our program.”
As an integral part of Bearcat basketball he will be taking years of experience with him.
Toldson’s message to Harley: “Continue to be humble and out work everyone.”
Micheal Yeaman is a standout athlete in multiple sports. Both the football and basketball programs are going to miss his talent when he graduates.
“It’s been a great pleasure to have Michael apart of the bearcat program for the last four years and it will be hard to see him go,” Toldson said. “Michael has a great work ethic. He is competitive and what I love the most about him is that he plays the game with a lot of passion. Michael, thank you for all your hard work.”
Toldson’s message to Michael: “When life knocks you down stay strong and continue to fight.”
Dawson Bratton has put in the time on both the hardwood and the gridiron over his time as a Bearcat, but hasn’t received the acclaim as some of his classmates. Without his supporting role the Cats wouldn’t have done nearly as well as they have.
“Dawson has been a bearcat for the last four years and he will be truly missed,” Toldons said. “Dawson is a good teammate, leader and a great young man. Dawson, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our program.”
Toldson’s message to Dawson: “Always believe in yourself and remember you can do anything you put your mind to.
Griffen Boe is another senior who’s name hasn’t been given the recognition it deserves, but his contribution to the Bearcats is undeniable.
“Griffen has been apart of the bearcat family for four years,” Toldson said. “Griffen is a great team player and he’s always willing to sacrifice for the team. What I’m most proud of is his never give up attitude. Griffen, thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice. “
Toldson’s message to Griffen: “Always work hard and continue to have that never give up attitude it will take you a long ways in life.”
Although Nate Underberg took a year off from basketball his Junior year, his 6 foot, 3 inches, with a wingspan to mathc, he is making an impression on the court as a senior.
“Nate Underburg has been a part of the program for 3 years,” Toldson said. “Nate didn’t play his junior year and I was excited when he decided to play this year. He has been a great leader and joy to be around. Nate, thank you for being a good team player and teammate.”
Toldson’s message to Nate: “Remember to always give your all in everything you do and life will take you far.”
These five players are certainly making the Bearcats a late season contender. They all deserve to be recognized for their years of dedication and sweat on the court.
“Each senior player has brought a tremendous dedication to success, work ethic and a winning attitude to our program,” Toldson muses. “It’s been a pleasure and honor to be able to coach them. They have been positive role models on and off the court and have served the Bearcat program and community well.”
The Boys will face Thermopolis Friday and Buffalo Saturday in a pair of away games that will bring their season to a close. How this weekend plays out will determine how the Bearcats sit going into the regional tournament.
Taking Thermopolis shouldn’t cause the Bearcats too much trouble. The Bobcats are 1-15 on the season and sitting very solidly at the bottom of their quadrant as well as the entire 3A East.
Saturday’s game against Buffalo may be a tougher battle as the Bison are leading the 3A East with a 17-4 record.
Both games will be important to the Bearcats going into regionals.
But to earn that second seed they will have to have both wins and hope that Torrington, currently the second seed, can’t upset the No. 1 Buffalo Friday.
All in all, it’s up in the air and up to the Cats and if they can keep up the momentum they have gained the last couple weeks.