WYO Mambacitas went 4-2 at All-West Native American Basketball Classic

    Submitted by Head Coach Star Friday.

    For 40 years, teams from every Tribe, reservation, and Indigenous community across the country have converged in central Denver, Colorado, for the All-West Native American Basketball Classic. Gold Crown Foundation in Lakewood, Colorado, is home to one of the largest all Native American tournaments in North America. The largest is NABI, which will be held later this summer in Phoenix, Arizona.

    This year, 110 teams total participated. 60 boys and 50 girls teams representing high schools from as far north as Alaska and as far south as Florida. Over the course of 3 days, 280 games were played in the fast-paced style that Indian country is known for, RezBall”!


    Everything from skills competitions, 3pt and dunk contests DJ’d by DJ Paws of the Denver Nuggets, noncompetitive blowouts to heartbreaking buzzer beaters are common scenes. Culminating on Sunday evening with the girl’s Gold division won by the Cheyenne Arapaho team out of El Reno, Oklahoma, and the boy’s gold division won by OK Runners II, also from Oklahoma. Partnering with the tournament foundation was Nike, giving out some great awards from their Nike N7 line.

    Year after year, the tourney serves as a platform for Native Americans to showcase their talents as well as meet up with family and friends, make new friends and new memories that will last a lifetime, win or lose! You might run into a friend/teammate you haven’t seen for 10 years or just an annual meet up with family from across the country.

    Fremont County is always well represented, as players from Wyoming Indian High School, Wind River High School, Lander Valley High School, and St. Stephens High School participated in this year’s tourney.

    The newly formed (as of last summer, 2023) WYO Mambacitas played in the girl’s Gold division, going 4-2 on the weekend. Beating team Blackhorse (Denver/Pine Ridge, SD) 55-18, Salish Kootenai All Stars (MT) 81-16, Umonhon Reign (NE) 45-33, and Lady Dream (AZ) 38-33. The two losses came against two of the top girl’s teams in Indian country, Legendary Elite (52-43) and Quiet Storm (35-41), in closely contested games.


    WYO Mambacitas are comprised of seniors Kiara Friday (LVHS), Ronessa Sazue (Crow Creek HS, SD), Amanda Jenkins (WRHS), McKenzie Marks (Crow Creek HS, SD), sophomores Hayden Goggles (LVHS), Breanna Lincoln (LVHS), freshmen Madisyn Arneach (WRHS), Delaney Gambler (WRHS) and Daisy Goklish (LVHS). Coached by Star Friday and Contessa Bonds. 

    Their defense-first, fast-paced style creates plenty of turnovers, resulting in a lot of transition layups, but they can also play slow and methodical, moving the ball really well and getting open shots and cuts to the basket. They are also a great rebounding team from every position, and are so selfless. This makes them a formidable team against any opponent putting Indian Country on notice this past weekend. They’re still a work in progress as they have not yet had a practice together. Coming off two championships last summer, this was a great start to the 2024 summer campaign and a good measuring stick going straight to playing the best of the best.

    The Mambacitas have a full schedule with a local tournament in Riverton and and the Missouri River Shootout in Bismarck, ND, coming up next month, followed by IHoop Nation events in Denver, CO, in May and June. Finishing off the summer in Phoenix for the largest Native American tournament the 21st annual NABI nation invite July 22-27th, which will have 196 teams and over 1900 athletes competing.


    For most, basketball isn’t everything, but in Indian Country, Basketball is king. The friendships, memories made, and the opportunities it brings will last a lifetime and open up so many doors that many of these athletes otherwise wouldn’t have. There is nothing quite like what some call “RezBall”!


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