The Billings Central boys basketball team is looking for a return to the top of Class A.
The Rams were bounced in loser-out play from last year’s state tournament after missing the prior year, and that’s served as plenty of motivation.
"Last year at the state tournament we stuck around and I made the guys watch that state championship game and see what it's all about — what that level is about," Billings Central head coach Jim Stergar said. "The expectation around here is we should be playing in that game every year."
It’ll be a big youth movement for Central this winter, as there are just three seniors on the roster. Stergar anticipates playing more than a handful of underclassmen and will need them to mature quickly.
“Stergar has a great reputation here what he can do as a coach," senior Kyler Northrop said. "Just showing the younger guys to have trust in what he says. Just working hard in our drills every single day, and as an older guy you've got to set an example."
“The younger guys saw what it was about and we're hoping they grow up fast. It's a short season. It happens fast and in the blink of an eye it's going to be over," Stergar said.
Making things a little easier on Stergar is Pat Hansen. The longtime Laurel coach has spent time on the Central girls staff the past few years, but Stergar was able to lure him away this season.
“I hated playing against Laurel and Pat and his teams, so I'm utilizing him as much as I can," Stergar said. "It's been such a relief off of me in practices to have one guy like this in our program who has been there, done that more than most people in the state of Montana as a coach. He's a Hall of Fame coach and to have him, it's a blessing for us to have this guy in our program."
The Rams get their season started this weekend at the tipoff tournament up in Lewistown.