BILLINGS — How do you follow up a national championship?
By winning another.
"I think it just kind of boosted everyone's confidence a little bit, and I think it brought a lot of us closer together," said Billings Christian senior Drew Ouradnik.
"(The expectations) were pretty high," echoed senior Bo Bentz. "I'd say it made us push ourselves further knowing we didn't have the seniors from last year."
The Billings Christian Warriors have seemingly more than made up for their losses. After winning a National Christian School Athletic Association title last season, the program expanded, welcoming in 32 kids this year on four teams, which gives them lots of options.
"I feel like we have a lot more depth this year, as opposed to last year where it was maybe just a few of us putting together huge scoring drives and points," Ouradnik said. "This year we have people coming off the bench, putting up 40 points in a half."
There are a lot of those halves, because starters know it's probably all they're going to get. The Warriors are beating teams by more than 50 points per game, so running clocks are common.
"Our mentality is to go as hard as we can, usually all the time, but especially in that first half," said Bentz.
"I'd love to play the whole game, but, I mean, at this level, it's nice to get our other guys who don't get as much playing time in," Ouradnik said. "We do tend to go as hard as we can for that first half knowing we might not play as much."
It's a good problem to have if you're head coach Craig Carse, who has brought a wealth of knowledge from his days leading college programs.
"It's been insane. He knows so much about the game that I've never learned from any other coach," Bentz said.
"Moving from Minnesota and coming to play for Coach Carse, my expectations were super high, but I didn't think it would be at this level," Ouradnik admitted.
Now, that's exactly where their expectations are.
"I think we (have to) go for the two-peat, honestly," Ouradnik said of the team's goals for the rest of the season.
"I don't think we want to expect any less of ourselves, so we're going to push for it," Bentz added.
When you've walked the walk, you can talk the talk.