HELENA -- The Helena Capital boys basketball team is riding high. The Bruins beat the reigning Class AA champion Bozeman Hawks on Dec. 14, 75-44.
On Tuesday, the Bruins were back at work as they prepare for their next test -- the Billings West Golden Bears. The Bruins know that a 30-point win isn't something to scoff at, and instead of going back to the drawing board, they're doubling down on their game plan.
"We're working on the same things that we worked on last week and the week before that, and it's all the fundamental things for sure. It starts with us being able to handle the ball; play good, solid defense; box out; rebound; do all little things you have to win," said head coach Guy Almquist. "We know we did some nice things on Saturday, but we also know that it's going to get tougher as the season goes along here. We've got a long ways to go, so we need to make sure we get better each day. "
According to Almquist, the last time the two teams met in Billings was more than two decades ago, but the teams certainly have history more recent than that. The Bears and the Bruins met in the first round of the 2019 Class AA state tournament, with Billings West coming out on top 56-50. Trevor Swanson -- then a junior, now a senior -- hasn't forgotten about that loss.
"We want to go in with the same plan last week against Bozeman and we want to push the ball and play with confidence. That's what really helped us against Bozeman," said Swanson. "Personally, I have a chip on my shoulder from state getting beat in the first round against West, so I'm expecting that they're going to play hard, but we're just going to come back and play even harder."
The Bruins will open their two-game road trip against Billings West on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. and wrap up their trip with a matchup against the Billings Senior Broncs on Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.