Now that the boys and girls basketball teams from my alma mater, Midwest, have been knocked out of postseason contention, I’m searching for a team to support during this week’s 1A-2A state basketball tournament.
And I’m going with the Big Piney boys for no other reason than statistical anomaly.
The Punchers have the chance to break one of the state’s longest streaks in the first round of the tournament on Thursday. Big Piney hasn’t been to the state tournament’s semifinal round since 1982, a streak that will end if the Punchers beat Pine Bluffs on Thursday.
With the Class 2A and 1A state basketball tournaments scheduled this week, and the Class 4A and 3A regional tournaments also set, now is a good time to look at some interesting patterns, like Big Piney’s, that have emerged the past few years in Casper — or, in some cases, have emerged during past few decades.
Oddly enough, Big Piney’s opponent, Pine Bluffs, has a similar semis-less streak going. The Hornets haven’t been past the quarterfinals since 1995, a mark that’s just outside the state’s top 10.
Whoever wins, I officially promise to join the winner’s bandwagon and celebrate the end of the streak. After all, the boys team with the longest semi-less streak — outside of Glendo, Cheyenne South and Normative Services, which have never made it past the first round — is my hometown Midwest Oilers. The last time Midwest made it to the semis was 1953, more than 60 years ago. Midwest has made 22 state tournaments since then, and has even won a few games, but has never made it past the quarterfinals.
The Kemmerer girls have a chance to break a streak that’s similar to Big Piney’s boys; the Ranger girls haven’t advanced past the quarterfinal round since 1986. Kemmerer faces Southeast in the first round of the 2A state tournament on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in Class 4A, Gillette has the opportunity to continue streaks that have been decades in the making. The Camel boys, by virtue of their No. 1 seed at the East Regional, have already qualified for their 27th consecutive state tournament, while the Camel girls will need to beat Cheyenne South in a play-in game to make it to state for the 25th year in a row. Both streaks are the longest active streaks in the state.
The Camel girls, once in Casper (provided they beat South), will also be trying to make it to the semifinals for the 22nd consecutive year — by far the longest such streak in the state. On the boys’ side, Burlington needs to beat Lingle in the first round of the 1A state tournament on Thursday to make the semifinals for the eighth year in a row, which would continue the longest such active streak in the state regardless of classification.
Meanwhile, Rock River’s boys and girls both lost in state play-in games at last week’s 1A East Regional tournament, continuing long state-less streaks for the Longhorns. Rock River’s girls haven’t been to state since 1987, while the boys haven’t been since 1971 — the longest such active streaks for schools that have qualified at least once for state. The Cheyenne South and Normative Services girls are the only two active programs that have not qualified for a state tournament.
Here’s a quick look at some interesting state tournament streaks: The longest droughts, the longest qualifying streaks, the longest semifinal droughts and the longest semifinal qualifying streaks:
Basketball state tournament droughts
None since 2002
Rock River: 1971
Glenrock, Shoshoni: 1997
NSI, Cheyenne South: Never
Rock River: 1987
Basketball state tournament qualifying streaks
Four-plus years (since at least 2010)
Year indicates start of streak
Snake River, Wyoming Indian: 2008
Big Horn, St. Stephens, Star Valley, Wheatland: 2010
(Lovell, St. Stephens boys did not qualify for state this year)
Sheridan, Cheyenne East: 2000
Tongue River: 2003
Cokeville, Kaycee: 2006
Powell, Rock Springs: 2008
Douglas, Evanston, Laramie, Snake River, Star Valley: 2010
Basketball semifinal state tournament droughts
None since 2000
Cheyenne South, NSI, Glendo: Never
Rock River: 1971
Big Piney: 1982
Glenrock, Upton: 1991
Pine Bluffs: 1995
Worland, Burns: 1996
Shoshoni, Lingle: 1997
Cheyenne South, Moorcroft, NSI, Chugwater, Glendo, Rock River: Never
Ten Sleep: 1979
Big Piney, Midwest: 1994
Cody, Riverside: 1996
Shoshoni, Dubois: 1997
Green River: 1998
Basketball semifinal state tournament streaks
At least three straight
Burlington: 7 (2006-13)
Snake River: 5 (2009-13)
Gillette: 4 (2010-13)
Lovell: 3 (2011-13)
Gillette: 21 (1993-13)
Cokeville: 5 (2009-13)
Tongue River: 4 (2010-13)
Lovell: 4 (2010-13)
Snake River: 3 (2011-13)
Remember, every state tournament basketball score in state history is archived here.