HELENA — As the Carroll College men enter the new year, they'll do so against a familiar non-conference opponent in the Dickinson State Blue Hawks on New Years Day.
The Fighting Saints wrapped up 2021 on both a sweet and sour note, starting the season at 14-1 with their only loss coming on a buzzer-beater against Arizona Christian on their most recent road trip. The main thing that's kept the Carroll Men in stride to start the season?
"The coaches were really be pushing us and staying focused on getting better every day. We're putting a lot of work to get better, and just that's thing of like — we have big goals this year that we want to accomplish," said sophomore forward Gui Pedra. "We want to win conference, definitely want to try to make a push for nationals, so that goal keeps us pushing forward."
Though the Fighting Saints may not be perfect any more after the loss, the team bounced back for two wins against Antelope Valley and Embry-Riddle, and they feel like Saturday will be another opportunity to keep that momentum rolling.
"Arizona Christian is a good team. We were second in the nation, they were 10th at the time. They're a solid team. Felt like we worked really hard," said junior guard Jonny Hillman. "There's always going to be a little bit to work on, but I felt like you know — we stayed solid. So as long as we stay solid as a team, not getting angry at each other anything which we haven't done, has been really well. So I think that we're gonna bounce back just fine."
The Fighting Saints and the Dickinson State Blue Hawks tip off 2022 in the P.E. Center on Saturday at 2 p.m.