DILLON — When Brynley Fitzgerald was a senior at Beaverhead County High School in Dillon she was faced with a tough choice: join Lindsay Woolley and her hometown Montana Western Bulldogs or take her shot playing for Tricia Binford and the Montana State Bobcats.
Fitzgerald packed her bags and headed to Bozeman to play for Binford and the MSU women's basketball team. But after just a year in and seeing the Bulldogs cut down the nets as NAIA national champions in 2019, she decided to come back home.
“I think she felt comfortable with our program, knowing a number of kids from whether it was working out with them in the summertime or being around them or being at camps and those types of things," said Woolley, Montana Western's championship-winning women's basketball coach. "So, she was comfortable with them and obviously comfortable with me.”
“It’s a great community here. I’ve loved living here for the last 10-11 years. And after they won a national championship it just seemed like an easy fit," said Fitzgerald, now a sophomore at Western. "Coach Woolley has started a really great thing over here. They’ve had some really great players come through the program, they’ve changed Western and got it on the map.”
Dillon welcomed back one of its own with open arms, which motivates Fitzgerald to give 110 percent every time she hits the court.
“The community was so supportive of my decision to come back. They were all really excited to watch me come back and play basketball. They’ve watched me since I was a little kid and now they get to come and watch all my games," said Fitzgerald. "I think that’s really nice to have some people who got to watch me play in high school now watch me grow as a player and as a person.”
After this season she’ll have two more years to cement her legacy as a Montana Western Bulldog. Her ceiling is a high as some of the best to come through the doors of Straugh Gymnasium.
“I think she’s got a chance to become an all-league kid looking towards her junior and senior year. She’s got an extremely good work ethic," Woolley added. "It’s going to be a matter of her continuing to refine her ball-handling and her footwork and those types of things on the perimeter.”