Wyoming Indian High School's girls and boys basketball teams received a warm welcome back to the Wind River Reservation after once again sweeping the 2A state championship.
Both teams rode through Riverton on top of city firetrucks in a parade that shut down Federal Boulevard on Sunday afternoon. Family and supporters followed the teams in a procession of honking cars - many painted with words of celebration for the teams - from downtown Riverton to the Wind River Hotel and Casino, and later to an honoring ceremony at Wyoming Indian High School in Ethete.
The Lady Chiefs defended their 2019 title 52 - 46 against Pine Bluffs. Coach Aleta Moss commended juniors Angela Astorga and Jaden Ferris, who scored some critical points in the fourth quarter, but said all of her players deserve praise.
"They've worked really hard all year. I'm glad for the girls, really glad that they can enjoy this moment," Moss said during Sunday's parade. "And it was really important to us that the boys win, too, so that we could both have back-to-back [championships]."
The Chiefs' game against Sundance went into overtime before they pulled off a 54 to 49 win. The team graduated several key members last year, but overcame the loss thanks to young players like sophomore Vidale "Tuff" C'Bearing, who rose to the challenge.
"Nobody believed in us in the beginning of the season because we lost 8 seniors last year. People were like, 'They Ain't gonna be nothing, they ain't gonna be a problem.' But we showed them, proved them wrong," C'Bearing said.
The North Bear Singers composed and played a special hand drum song for the two teams on Sunday, congratulating them for "making history." Last year was the first since Wyoming Indian High School was founded in 1972 that both the girls and boys basketball teams have taken home the state championship.
Junior Jaden Ferris said the double back-to-back win will long be a source of pride on the Wind River Reservation.
"It's community pride, even tribal pride. Basketball means so much to this community because it's the thing that Native Americans are known for around here," Ferris said, adding that the teams are grateful for the community's involvement. "It's unbelievable to see how many people are supporting us out here, and giving us all the love they give us."
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