BOULDER — As the Jefferson High boys basketball team navigates through this season, it'll be doing so with a younger type of leadership.
With no seniors on the roster, Panthers head coach Anthony Connole has called on his juniors to help lead his team. In Connole's eyes, they've done that exceptionally,
"It was nice to see those guys step up and take that role. We have a couple guys that really fall into that leadership category during practice and games, kind of set the tone early and they do what's asked of them throughout practice, and they're always on guys if they're messing around," said Connole. "So it's nice that they're taking that leadership role."
For Tyler Harrington, the leadership role he’s taken this season was something he dreamed about as a little kid.
"Through my years I grew up just watching all the older guys and just thinking I'm going to be one of them one day and I need to play like them and I need to lead these guys like they taught me how to," said Harrington.
Trent McMaster, another junior on the squad, said he and his teammates were looking forward to taking over the role in their first game against Choteau where the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs 88-48. For McMaster, taking over the role has been a lot of fun.
"We've really been looking forward to it all season. I think even though we're younger and we're juniors, we definitely have a ton of leadership," said McMaster. "We're just helping the young guys grow, and we have a ton of fun out there."
With many of his leaders still having at least two years left to play, Connole thinks this group will be even more fit to lead a year from now.
"I'm really hard on my guys at times, you know, and they take it with good criticism, so next year it'll be even better for the longevity of the program," said Connole.
Connole and his junior leadership will be tested once again when they head to Twin Bridges on Friday.