BILLINGS – If the Rocky Mountain College women beat No. 10 Montana Western Saturday night, look for the Battlin’ Bears to climb into the latest NAIA Top 25 poll.
The Lady Bears are off to their best start in school history (12-1) after beating No. 7 Lewis-Clark State 62-54 Thursday night. The Warriors are the defending NAIA national runner-up.
Brooke Jones scored a game-high 20 for the Bears, who continue to prove why they should be a Frontier conference contender.
“Our girls are real humble right now,” said head coach Wes Keller. “They know that they’re fighting to earn respect in our league.”
“We go in thinking that we can win every game,” said Jones. “We know that we’re good, we just have to go out there and prove it every time. It doesn’t matter what a team is ranked, we just want to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we are a good team.”
Rocky’s men also knocked off L-C State, which entered at No. 10 in the nation. It was the first Frontier Conference win for the Bears, who are 9-5 overall, and a breakthrough after losing a handful of tight finishes.
“It feels really good to get a close win,” said reserve forward Craig Wilmore, who scored a game-high 19 in the win. “We just executed a lot, worked a lot in practice. Coach stresses a lot about everybody being locked in, engaged, showing a lot of grit.”
Head coach Bill Dreikosen said he doesn’t take moral victories from close losses and was happy to see his team on the other end.
“You’ve got to start winning them to believe you can win them,” said Dreikosen. “That was a good step (Thursday) night, knowing we can make the kind of plays we need to down the stretch, make winning plays.”
Rocky had little time to celebrate. Both face ranked UM Western teams Saturday. The women play the No. 10 Bulldogs at 5:30 p.m. with the guys facing the No. 16 program at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be played at the Fortin Center.