Alliance was a hub for youth sports on Saturday, January 19 with basketball games at Alliance Middle School and the Koozer-Dobson Slam wrestling tournament taking place at Alliance High School. Meanwhile, 14 teams in three divisions from seven communities across eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle, converged on the town for Wyo-Braska Youth Boys Basketball.
Towns represented included Alliance, Gering, Lusk, Morrill, Scottsbluff, Sidney and Torrington. Teams competed in fourth, fifth and sixth grade divisions with games starting at 9 a.m. and continuing until about 5 p.m. In total, 14 games were played at the Burkholder Building, Alliance Rec Center and Alliance Middle School.
Alliance’s lone boys representative is in the fifth grade division. They faced Gering in their first game, falling 37-31, but recovered to defeat Lusk 44-17 in their afternoon matchup. The team is coached by Aaron Wade and Nate Lanik.
“This is our first year of doing Wyo-Braska ball with the boys,” said Wade. “Unlike most of the communities participating, Alliance doesn’t really have a youth program, so we decided to form a team last year and competed in the Chadron Rec League. It was a good introduction to the game, but Wyo-Braska is a little more competitive. One of the requirements of participating is that you have to host a weekend. It is nice to play at home, but it takes a lot of organizing and volunteers. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of parents and several volunteers.”
Wade thanked the ARC and Alliance Public Schools for use of the venues, WESTCO for use of chairs and everyone who volunteered to referee, keep score, clock and clean up afterwards. Referees included Nate Lanik, Roger Nason, Jess Wimmer, Troy Stoike, Ruben Garcia, Baden Shelmadine, Holly Wade, Alliance High School boys coach Michael Baker and members of the AHS basketball team.
“A big thank you goes out to Coach Baker and his players,” said Wade. “They had a tough game on Friday night and got home late from Ogallala, but they were here early the next morning to help us out. That says a lot for the character of their team.”
The Alliance fifth graders will wrap up their Wyo-Braska season on Feb. 2 with games in Gering, before participating in a few tournaments around the area. Alliance also has fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls participating in Wyo-Braska. The girls’ league finale was Jan. 26 in Wheatland, Wyo.