The Lady Braves were upset and knocked out of the 3A state volleyball tournament while the Braves football team was able to upset top-seeded Torrington to earn a spot in the 3A title game.
The Lady Braves ran up against upset-minded Buffalo in the quarterfinals of the state volleyball tournament in the Casper Events Center last Thursday with the Bison winning by two points in the fifth game. The two squads scored as follows: 23-25, 25-15, 24-26, 25-22 & 13-15. Shania Warren unofficially had 31 kills in the match while Rylee Burmester had 18.
It turns out that the game did not lead to better things for either school as Star Valley was swept by Powell in the consolation bracket and Buffalo did not get past eventual champion Worland in the semi-finals and were then eliminated by the Rawlins Outlaws who bounced back to place third. The Warriors defeated Mountain View in the finals, the second straight season the Buffalos have finished as the state runner-up.
Star Valley will return the majority of their 3A West Regional championship team next season but will lose Lindi Moore and Morgan Dana to graduation.
The Braves scored a touchdown on just their second offensive play in Torrington as they built a 28-0 lead before coasting to a 42-27 semi-finals win in Goshen County. Reese Hiibel hit Joey Swanson for the 40-yard touchdown, the first of three passing touchdowns for the senior quarterback who also found Sean Pittman on a 51-yard bomb and Kyler Battleson from 22 yards out. Hiibel also rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown. Kellen Hansen rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown and Collin McGinley rushed for 79 yards an a touchdown which included a spectacular 43-yard romp to the end zone. Bailey Johnson had an interception as the Braves moved back to the 3A state title game for the first time since 2012.
Star Valley has advanced to the state championship six times and lost since their last state title in 1996. The team will play the Green River Wolves who won their fourth straight game with an impressive 24-15 win over top-seeded Jackson on the Teton County field. The Braves edged the Wolves in Sweetwater County, 16-15 back on October 9.
The two teams have never met before for a football state championship. Perhaps the closest such game came in early November of 1972 as the Braves avenged an earlier loss to the Wolves, 33-6 to win their fourth straight district title. The 1972 season came during the so-called “mythical championship” era and there was no football playoff. Star Valley finished 8-1-1 that season.