BRIDGER — The 2020 season ended with a bit of disappointment for the Bridger boys basketball team.
The Scouts lost to Melstone in the opening round of the Southern C divisional tournament on a last-second shot, then fell again to the Broncs in the consolation game, missing out on an opportunity to get to the state tournament.
Bridger graduated just two seniors off last year’s team, but they were the primary ball-handlers for the Scouts.
“They did a great job for me last year, the two that we lost, but the guys that are coming up to take their place got a ton of time last year. I don’t think we’re going to lose a step," Bridger head coach Randy Novakovich said. "These guys are going to step up and do it for me. I’ve got three kids that can handle it, I’ve got three kids that are big. We’re going to be solid. We’ll be fine.”
While Novakovich will toy around with his guards, he has two proven scorers in the low post in juniors Jace Weimer and Baylor Pospisil. Both stand taller than 6-foot-3 and combine athleticism and skill to go with their big frames. Add in Chance Goltz and the Scouts will have one of the best frontcourts in Class C.
“They’re both big, they’re both physical. The Goltz kid is coming along, he’s going to be a third guy down there. Nobody is going to be able to match up with us very well with three bigs in the game at the same time. I’m sure people will see that this year," said Novakovich. "They’re all solid. They can play down there. They can post up. But if you don’t follow them outside they like to walk out there and knock one down, too, so they like to play all over the floor.”
“We always guard each other, so we get good looks for game time. It’s going to be hard to stop us. I know those guards like to get it to us, because once you get it down low we’ll get it back out to the guards and let them shoot if we don’t have a shot," Pospisil said.
Expectations surrounding Bridger this season are high and deservedly so. Weimer and Pospisil were both all-conference selections as sophomores and the bulk of the Bridger roster played big minutes last year. Anything short of the state tournament is sure to be a disappointment.
“We think we’re going to be pretty solid. I don’t think we’re going to have too many issues this year. As always, we always have new kids coming in anyways, so it’s always a different challenge every year," Bridger senior Brandon Klaassen said.
“We’re going to go as far as we can. You can put pressure on them and say they should go all the way. That’s a tough thing to say. There’s no reason they don’t go real close to all the way. We should be playing at the state tournament this year and just seeing how we do," Novakovich said.
Bridger is off to a good start, having won its season opener at Harlowton-Ryegate last week. The Scouts will host Broadview-Lavina on Friday night