WHITEFISH — The Whitefish Bulldogs boys basketball team fell one win short of appearing in the Western A divisional tournament last season after a loss to Columbia Falls in the play-in game. But with every loss comes an extra dose of motivation.
“I have had a picture of my jersey after that loss. I took it off and took a picture of it and it's been my screen saver for a year. So that has been my motivation for sure,” senior Talon Holmquist said.
Head coach Scott Smith says specifically what hurt them the most last season was not staying on top of the little things.
“Maybe a miss block out here, a bad pass there and miscommunication and pretty soon all those little things add up to one big thing and we lost a lot of games because of that. Then our free throw shooting percentage was not good last year, and we need to improve upon that,” he said.
The team has seen that motivation already carry over to this season, as the Bulldogs won their first game of the season against Hamilton and senior Bodie Smith, Scott's son, says a lot of their success this season is going to come from their experience, with seven seniors returning.
“I feel like they'll help it just because, I've been playing basketball with these guys since I was little and we are really tight so I think that can carry on to something special,” Bodie said.
Not only have a lot of these players played together since they were younger but a lot of them just finished a football season together, so many of them feel more than prepared.
“I mean, obviously you are in a little bit of better shape. I mean, basketball shape to football shape is way different but there's a little bit of carryover. So yeah, for sure, football helps out," said Bodie.
The Bulldogs hope that physical ability will carryover and help them go all the way this season.
“We haven’t been to state forever, so I mean really, our eyes are we make it to the divisional tournament for starters and then from there and go to state. So it's a bunch of little stepping stones along the way,” said Bodie.