CHEYENNE – Ky Buell found her freshman basketball season at Western Nebraska Community College to be a number of things.
The 2020 Cheyenne East graduate describes the experience as challenging, rewarding and beneficial.
It prepared her to take the next step in her college basketball career, which is why she signed a letter of intent to play at Western Colorado University late last month. Western Colorado is a NCAA Division II school in Gunnison, Colorado.
“Coach (Lora) Westling and I talked before I signed with Western Nebraska, and I really liked her then,” Buell said. “She started recruiting me again this year, and I really love what she has to offer.”
Lora Westling is the younger sister of East coach Eric Westling.
Coming out of high school, Buell heard a lot of promises made during the recruiting process she later learned would have been hard to live up to. Buell went into her second recruiting cycle with her eyes wide open.
“Talking to coach Westling about her program and the standard her players are held to, I thought she was telling the truth, and that was big for me,” Buell said. “The recruiting process is tough sometimes. (Westling) isn’t going to be easy on anyone, and I look forward to going there and getting better.
“That’s what she wants from her team and her players. You should always want to get better in school, and life. I think I will get better in both areas at Western Colorado, and that made this an easy decision.”
Buell – a 5-foot-6 guard – averaged 10.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.7 points during her lone season at Western Nebraska. She was the Cougars’ third-leading scorer, and made the go-ahead jump shot that helped them grab a 63-60 victory over top-seeded Jones College in the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. WNCC finished fifth at nationals.
Buell describes her freshman year at the Scottsbluff, Nebraska-based school as a success, both academically and athletically. She entered the school’s pre-chiropractic program and is excited to pursue a career in that field. However, the year also had its share of ups and downs.
“I battled confidence,” she said. “I knew there were going to be challenges that I needed to learn how to deal with, but I came out of the year as a stronger and better person and player.”
Buell closed her high school career as the fourth all-time leading scorer in Wyoming history. She netted 1,978 points during two seasons at Rock Springs and two more at East. She led Class 4A in scoring during her freshman, sophomore and senior campaigns, and averaged 18.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.4 steals across 107 career high school games.
Western Colorado has had success with former East standouts on its roster. Guard Jessie Erickson and forward Jadyn Kanzler helped the Mountaineers go 14-6 and reach the NCAA tournament this season. Erickson was an honorable mention All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection.