COLUMBUS -- Not many people saw this coming.
Big Timber’s girls are 14-0 and on the cusp of an unbeaten season. It’s a far cry from last year’s 9-9 team that finished third in the conference. This year’s team features a number of girls that can hurt other teams.
“I try to instill in all the players that every player is important. We’re a team. Every role is important. Every game it seems like we have several girls that step up and different scorers every game," Big Timber head coach Kim Finn said.
“We always know we can be beaten, like any team can be beaten, so we always keep that in mind and we just go out and play our hardest, give all the effort we can," Emily Cooley said.
There’s just one senior on Big Timber’s roster, so the Herders are set up for success for the future, too. Cooley, a sophomore, moved from Glendive over the summer, and alongside freshman Bailey Finn, the Herders have two of the conference’s top scorers.
“Emily coming to town was a huge plus. She gelled, fits right in with our team. We’re a fast-break team, an aggressive team and she fits right in," Kim Finn said. "Bailey coming up really helped with seeing the floor and getting the ball where she needs to. She’s a shooter and she sees the floor really well, so she helps get the ball to the open player, also.”
The work began for Big Timber in the summer, as the Herders were in the gym four days a week and going to tournaments nearly every weekend. Being a gym rat isn’t anything new for Bailey Finn, as her older brothers have had her in the gym for years.
Brent Finn is currently a senior on the Montana State men's basketball team. He spent time at Dawson Community College and Texas A&M International prior to Bozeman. Blake Finn is on the men's golf team at MSU-Billings.
“She’s been in the gym since she was about 2," Kim Finn said. "I remember her dribbling along the courts while the boys were playing and stuff, so she’s seen that a lot. As they’ve gotten older they’ve helped her become the shooter she has become. They’re competitive. They have free throw contests, that type of thing. Her brothers have definitely helped her out a lot just seeing them in the gym and them helping her out.”
Finn’s big brothers have prepared her for stardom, as the Big Timber girls get set to chase some hardware over the next few weeks.