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Going back to Cali for Christmas

Dec 17, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor

Who says you can't go home again?

It's where I'm going this week as I wing my way home to San Diego to visit the family for Christmas, where I'll gain about 50 degrees and lose all the snow which fell on Fremont County this weekend.

Now, listen, I'm not rubbing it in.

Just saying.

The occasion will mark my third Wyoming Christmas and the second consecutive I've traded snowflakes for sunshine to close out the year.

Fortunately, not much going on the local sports landscape I'll miss out on.

Last December, upon my arrival in America's Finest City, I found a football team of Cowboys waiting for me in the Poinsettia Bowl, where Wyoming faced BYU in a renewal of the old Western Athletic Conference battle which has moved to the Mountain West in recent years.

It was a great game despite the fact the good guys lost to their Utah rivals in a close one.

Biggest news of the night was a steady rain fell on the field at Qualcomm Stadium -- but no snow.

Which brings us to this year's Brown-and-Gold bowl bid.

Usually, going to a bowl means a trip someplace where it's significantly warmer than where you call home.

Like leaving Laramie behind for a week for San Diego.

But, that was last year for a game -- the Poinsettia -- which is now defunct.

So, where do the Cowboys get to go this time around for their efforts?

Boise.

Woo-hoo!

Pack your thermals if you're going to the game, and how lousy is that for the Cowboys, going someplace another team in your own conference plays where you go on a regular basis, anyway?

Now, I've never been to Boise -- I'm sure it's lovely.

But, you decide.

San Diego or Boise, Boise or San Diego?

Hmm ... let me think about that.

I believe I'll head south, thank you.

Just so happens as the first real cold spell hits Central Wyoming this week, I'll be someplace where the only ice is in the drinks.

Very warm, indeed.

Don't worry, though.

We'll be back after our Christmas break, just in time for the Fremont County winter sports season to resume.

Three stars

Ballers, nothing but ballers, as we finish off the second week of basketball season.

No. 3

Ridge McCoy,

Riverton,

basketball

All the 6-foot-5 Big Red power forward did was run riot, averaging a double-double during the Wolverines' three-game weekend sweep of the competition at the Douglas Classic.

McCoy, who has returned this season from a knee injury which caused him to miss virtually all of last year, scored 25 points and ripped down 11 rebounds against Douglas, then added 20 and 12 against Wheatland, followed by 17 and six against Thermopolis. Do the math -- that an average of 20 and 10.

Not bad for a guy whose best sport is baseball.

Excellent.

No. 2

Leighanna

Shoulderblade,

Riverton, basketball

When you're the leading scorer in a game which is the first win for your team in three years, that'll do the trick to earn one of our stars.

Shoulderblade poured in 20 points during the Lady Wolverines' 53-30 victory against Thermopolis at the Lander Classic on Friday in what was Riverton's first win since March 13, 2015, breaking a 52-game losing streak.

Excellent.

No. 1

Conner LeBeau,

Lander, basketball

The Lady Tigers' gritty, gutty senior power forward only stands 5-foot-6, but the redhead played like 6-6 on Friday during Lander's 62-49 home victory against Torrington, an unstoppable force on the low blocks, time and again receiving pinpoint passes from teammates before laying the ball up and in from close range to the tune of 31 points, a career high.

Only winners get ice cream and LeBeau gets a triple scoop with extra sprinkles for an absolutely fabulous performance.

Very cool, indeed.

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