BILLINGS — Pay no attention to the name. On the basketball court, Billings Central sophomore Lily Bland is anything but.
Laurel found that out Friday. With Central’s stars bottled up, the Rams turned to their bench for some offense, and Bland responded with the best game of her early career.
“The response in a game in the Metra against Laurel, I'm just really proud," said Central head coach Jetton Ailes.
"Definitely coming into it, I had some nerves -- big arena -- but my coaches and my teammates really helped to calm them and we played together," echoed Bland.
Last year’s co-State A champs lost only one senior, but it was a big loss, with Olivia Moten-Schell no longer controlling the middle like she did for four years. But now the Rams are finding that toughness from Bland.
“She’s so strong in practice," said senior Isabelle Erickson. "I definitely have to bulk up when I guard Lily, because she’s so strong. She can lift a lot, and she’s not afraid to go at someone.”
Central (6-0) will need that quality if it wants to lift another trophy. Friday showed the trio of Mya Hansen, Solei Elletson and Erickson can’t do it all themselves, and it looks like they won’t have to.
“That’s what’s great about this group, is we can have someone different step up any given night," Ailes said. "Any time you can put 7-8-9 in the scorebook, that’s a tough team to beat.”
“We're just working together as a team, working hard, and we’ve got a lot of grit on this team," said Bland.
They follow the leader.