BILLINGS — When the Carroll College women’s basketball team comes to Billings to face Frontier Conference nemesis Rocky Mountain College, it’s a bit of a homecoming for Saints coach Rachelle Sayers.
Sayers had a standout high school career in Absarokee, so friends and family jump at the chance to see her pace the sidelines.
“Eastern Montana has been pretty special to me. Growing up in a small town around a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins, you just grow up in a small town and your community becomes your family," Sayers said. "That community support has shown up really well at these games. It's fun to see everybody come out and it's one of the few times I get to see a lot of the people I grew up with."
Sayers went and played her college ball at Weber State, then stayed in Ogden, Utah, on the Wildcats coaching staff. The itch of coming back to her home state eventually became too much.
“That was one of the driving forces in taking the job at Carroll, is at the time we had four young children, so getting back to Montana and having our children have the same experiences we did growing up — growing up around their cousins and their grandma and grandpa, that was really important to me," she said. "To be able to come back now and bring them back and spend time has been great."
For a home-grown Montanan, it’s no shock that Sayers takes pride in getting some of the best local talent, which this year’s team is stocked with.
“I like to keep the Montana kids here. I think it's great for our crowds and their families. People want to come out and support them. They want to watch them," Sayers said. "I think that's why we've had the opportunity to lead the NAIA in attendance the last few years, because we have two kids form Helena and a lot of kids from the surrounding area."
Things didn't go Carroll’s way Saturday at Rocky, but Sayers could shake it off in the presence of loved ones.