BILLINGS — Things look a lot different on the basketball floor this season for the Lodge Grass guys.
The 'Big Three' of Damon Gros Ventre, Ty Moccasin and D.C. Stewart left a lasting mark and have moved on, but the culture they helped build is still the foundation for the Indians.
“Before, for so long, there was a drought at Lodge Grass. For so long, it was like when will this happen? These boys broke through, now the group behind them is thinking it's possible," head coach Josh Stewart said. "I think that's the message now. We can't promise wins but we'll always deliver on effort and attitude."
Stewart has a way of getting his kids to focus intently on the present, knowing it’s building towards the bigger picture – something that’s not so easy when coaching teenagers.
“He's always keeping us accountable, keeping us on our toes and never lets us get comfortable. He's a great coach," said junior guard Myron Little Light.
“Repetition. I think it's not just repetition in the drill, it's repetition in the message," Stewart said. "We say it every day, all season, 1-0. Let's go 1-0 every game and keep their expectations right in front of us right here. Hard work, execution. Hard work, execution. Communication is the lifeblood of our program, so we try to communicate all of that and we try to communicate it early, every day and a lot."
Lodge Grass put on a show in Lockwood at the Class B tipoff tournament, indlucding a 40-point win over Harlem, which beat the Indians in the state semifinals last season. Though both teams look vastly different, some of the holdovers had this game marked on their calendar.
“When you wait nine months, you've got to come out for anything. We wanted that. We waited all summer for this, waiting to play them. We waited all year. Once that game was over, I had it circled," Little Light said.
Lodge Grass boasts lots of youth once again, and that will be on display in Baker on Saturday.