BOX ELDER — Ask Lilly Gopher how many wins she had in her high school career and it takes a second for her to come up with the number.
“It’s over 90 I think,” she said.
Ask her how many losses she has, and she knows exactly how many there were. And she remembers all of them in detail.
“The past four years we lost nine times.”
“It still really bugs me. I’m a motivated person and a competitive person and I don’t like losing.”
In Gopher’s four years, the Box Elder girls went 93-9 and won two Class C state titles.
Lucky for Gopher, she’s joining a program that also doesn’t like to lose. Just days after Montana Western won its first NAIA national championship, they added one of the best all-around players in the state.
Gopher, a two-time Class C champion and all-state selection, signed with the Bulldogs on Thursday.
“Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve been thinking about this day and this last year I knew I had to pick one,” Gopher saod. “And picking one with a good program makes it a weight off my shoulders.”
Did the national championship sway her decision, or is the timing a coincidence?
“It didn’t really,” laughed Gopher. “They just have an amazing program with amazing coaches and amazing players, too. I watched all three of those last three (NAIA tournament) games, and I thought they played well, especially the seniors that went out with a bang. It was really cool.”
Gopher, who averaged 16 points per game as a senior, also mentioned the family atmosphere at Western and the tight-knit community of Dillon as factors that went into her decision. It reminded her of Box Elder.
“We have a really, really strong support system here,” she said. “Our support is our back bone. We’re thankful for everything, all of the opportunities. All of the opportunities given to me at this high school, really, really thankful. I can’t wait to make them proud.”