WORDEN -- The Colts are starting to hit their stride at the right time.
Colstrip really only had one rotational holdover from last year’s team that started the season 23-0, and that’s returning all-conference selection J.T. Baer. Baer’s an experienced senior leader for the Colts, but it’s been a group effort this season.
“We lean on coach, we lean on the crowd, we lean on everybody. It’s a team effort. Full chemistry," Baer said. "We’ve got to make sure everybody on the bench is energetic, because we need everything we can get losing that many seniors.”
“J.T. is a big leader for us. He’s got more experience than anybody else by far," Colstrip head coach Joe Egan said. "J.T.'s so good with his teammates about how he comes across. It’s so easy to accept the kinds of things he says and things that he wants down the stretch. When he says something, they pay attention. He’s just so great about how he delivers his message.”
With all the firepower the Colts lost from last year’s team, Baer may have been expected to shoulder the load offensively. That hasn’t been the case, as fellow senior Corbin-Small Fisher and a handful of others have filled the void nicely.
“Basically a new team this year. The kids have had to grow up a little bit, we’ve had to gain some experience. I’m just real confident in where we’re going, where we’re headed," Egan said.
Earlier this month, Colstrip was knocked around by Lodge Grass for its first loss in conference play in 26 games. That game served as a wake-up call of sorts for the Colts.
“It helped us to not have to worry so much about a loss," Egan said. "You’re kind of on an undefeated road, you start to get scared that you’re going to lose. Sometimes it’s a good thing to lose.”
“Honestly, I think it was a good thing, because it gave us motivation to work harder," Baer said. "We’re not the top dogs in the world and we’ve got to realize that and we’ve got to start working harder to get back to the state tournament.”
Colstrip didn't lose again until Jan. 17 at Huntley Project, where Colstrip was outscored in the final five minutes 14-2 after holding a five-point lead. Although they have a pair of losses, the Colts look like they'll be in contention at the Southern B divisional tournament in Billings once again.
The Colts are 9-2, with their only losses coming to Lodge Grass and Huntley Project. Colstrip is back in action Thursday night at home against Shepherd and will travel to Glendive on Saturday.