BILLINGS — The Lockwood boys basketball team has ripped off six consecutive wins and stand atop the Southeastern A.
The Lions are getting it done in an unconventional way, playing several underclassmen with just two senior starters and four in the rotation.
“I think it starts with trust. They've showed it to me and proved it to me, and I think they've proved it to everybody else, too," Lockwood head coach Bobby Anderson said.
"We've got four great seniors that are leading this young group, but these guys are hoopers, man. They're gym rats. They're always in the gym, and it shows. It shows the work they've put in, and they're not shy of any moment."
"Our chemistry — coming to school helps us a lot. Team dinners, shootarounds in the summer and summer ball helped us a lot," Lockwood freshman Kobe Blake said.
The length and athleticism the Lions possess pops when you see them play. You don’t see many young teams that are capable of being elite defensively, but this team certainly is.
“If you ask them, they know they're a defensive team first. It's just the standard here at Lockwood that you're going to play defense," Andreson said. "I think we're holding teams to about 46 points per game. I think top 5 in the state for least points allowed, so our length is definitely an advantage."
“I think it's just getting down and dirty," senior Tharin Sikveland said. "Learning how to forget about how tired you are. They forget that on defense you have to hustle on everything. You have to take defense as the No. 1."
If Anderson’s ideals seem a little familiar to those in the Eastern A, that’s because his time as a player and coach under the Hall of Famer Pat Hansen had a huge impact on how his program is run.
“He's obviously given me the blueprint. We're different in our ways, but we're also very, extremely competitive," Anderson said. "I think being under him it showed me what it takes to be successful and how to be successful night-in, night-out," Anderson said.
Lockwood came up just shy of a state tournament berth last year, but they’re locked in on making the program’s first appearance this season.