Helena High forward Taelyr Krantz fights for a loose ball against Great Falls High. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)

HELENA – Eric Peterson knows his basketball team performed well in December. But the Helena High Lady Bengals coach also knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

“The thing is we can still get better and we have a long ways to go to get where we need to be,” he said. “Entering that break 3-1 and having that feeling of, we have a long ways to go still is a good thing.”

Peterson’s squad will go as its seniors go, a group of athletes with an ample amount of varsity experience.

“We have five seniors on the team, we expect them to have that experience, especially at the end of games to get us where we need to be,” said Peterson. “During the game as well, especially Taelyr Krantz starts things for us energy-wise. It starts with her but definitely trickles down with the other seniors as well.”

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“I think most of it is leading by example and hustle plays because every person on this team can step up,” Krantz said. “Jamie Pickens is a sophomore and she can step up, Kamden Hilborn is a junior, so it’s not about who is out there but showing leadership no matter who you are. Our team does a great job of that, we’re very experienced and I’m excited to see where we’re going to take this.”

One area the Lady Bengals have used to their advantage is the transition game. Helena High is quick from defensive rebound or even turnover, to shot attempt at the other end.

“This team thrives on rebounding. When we get that rebound we’re showing and gunning down the court but we’re also very in control of ourselves when we need to slow down,” said Krantz. “Sam Holman did a great job getting a lot of transition layups and that’s just something we’re going to get. We’re a fast team and that’s going to be hard to stop.”

Helena High will use the first week of 2017 as its final non-conference tune-up, but if December taught the team anything, their efforts could pay off in the next few months.

“I think we’re going to be a pretty tough team to beat,” said Krantz. “If we pick up our defense and keep scoring like we have been we’re going to be a serious contender so I’m excited for us.”

Helena High is on the road at Bozeman Tuesday night, before hosting Great Falls CMR on Thursday.