For a third straight season the Laramie Plainsmen basketball program will have a new direction. The Travis Brown era debuts tonight.

Laramie is coming off a fourth place finish at the state tournament last March. Ryan Puckett resigned a few weeks later, and Brown was hired in May as the replacement.

The Plainsmen return two starters, senior Reid Baty and junior Nathan Burman, plus three other lettermen in Chad Browning, Frank Crum and Isaiah Martinez, who all saw limited varsity action. The roster features just three seniors in Baty, Martinez and Diego Giron. The rest of the squad is comprised of sophomores and juniors. That includes some players that will primarily play JV and swing to varsity.

The new season shapes up to be a challenging one in more than one way. Not only a new coach with a young roster, but Laramie is part of a tough 4A East Conference that features defending champion Cheyenne Central, last season’s runner-up in Cheyenne South, plus Gillette and Sheridan ranked in the preseason Coach’s and Media basketball poll. Not to mention a Cheyenne East Thunderbird team that returns a solid nucleus.

This is Brown’s first head coaching post, but he’s anxious to get the season underway and see what his squad has.

The Plainsmen open their 2016-17 season at the Bill Strannigan Basketball Tournament in Riverton. LHS will play four games over three days. They open with the host Wolverines, who are 3A’s preseason ranked No. 2 team. They return four starters and eight lettermen from a season ago. The game will start at 6 p.m.

Friday will feature two games on the schedule for Laramie, as they take on 4A’s newest member, the Jackson Broncs at noon. That is followed by a game against Evanston at 6 p.m. Friday. The tournament wraps up with a match-up against the preseason top-ranked Kelly Walsh Trojans Saturday at noon.

All four games will air live on KOWB (AM 1290). You can also take the games mobile with the radioPup app. David Settle and VerDon Hoopes will call the action.