Butte Central is the defending state champion, but the Western A features plenty of challengers. (MTN Sports photo)

BUTTE–The Maroons will have a lot to live up to this season.

Butte Central enters the year as defending, undefeated state champions after an amazing 24-0 campaign last winter. Any team wearing that title knows it is a heavy one to bear, but Head Coach Meg Murphy and her team are refusing to look into the past.

“We’re looking at it as, ‘One game at a time,'” Murphy said. “We don’t even talk about [last year]. Our goal is to get to the state tournament and let the chips fall from there.”

Senior guard, Mollie Peoples, is well aware of Central’s recent accomplishments, but knows her team needs to play even tougher this season.

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“We need to stay motivated,” Peoples said. “We can’t get complacent, but we definitely have to take it one game at a time and just work hard.”

Peoples is one of three guards on the team, along with Chloe Thatcher and Emily St. John, who will be relied on heavily this season.

“We’re not very big this year,” Murphy said. “It’s a major adjustment for our group of kids.”

Although Central does not have the size, it will benefit from the experience coming off of a wild, undefeated campaign.

“They’re capable of holding their composure and they don’t panic when they’re down by, you know, ten points or so,” Murphy said. “They don’t panic and let it get to a 20-point lead.”

St. John, a senior, piggybacked on her coaches’ sentiment.

“We just know what every situation is like,” said the guard. “Hopefully, we can get the younger kids where we’re at, so we’re ready to go.”

The defending champs will open up their season December 9th against Columbia Falls in a rematch of last year’s state title game.