GREAT FALLS — With a second place finish in 2021 and a third place finish this year at the girls Class C state basketball tournament, the Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale Lady Mavericks proved that they are next in line to be the top team in the state. For head coach Amber Erickson, their final game of the tournament signaled the conclusion of coaching both her daughters Teagan and Jaycee together as Teagan is a sophomore but Jaycee a graduating senior.
“I’ve always loved coaching, and it’s always been my passion but being able to coach my daughters and being able to coach them for them for two years together in high school is a pretty amazing thing,” Amber said.
The two sisters are similar but yet very different. Both are extremely competitive and strive to be perfect on the court. Just one look on the court though, the differences are to easiest to see with sophomore Teagan standing at a lanky 6 feet 2 inches while 5-foot-5-inch senior Jaycee runs the show as the gritty bulldog of a point guard.
“She got all the height and I got all the muscle we like to say,” Jaycee Erickson said with a chuckle. “She says she’s got all the hops and I got the grit. I’m the type of baller that just gets after every play and stuff.”
Jaycee will take that grittiness and apply it next year when she plays her first season of college basketball for Montana Tech.
“I think it’s a great fit for her, coaching staff-wise and college-wise so I’m really excited for her and that opportunity,” Amber said.
Teagan goes into her sophomore track and field season as the defending Class C high jump champion when she cleared 5 feet 4 inches in the state meet last spring showing the state just a taste of the athleticism to come the next three years in Class C.
As the defending high jump state champion, Teagan proved she’s one of the state’s premier high-fliers. Her mother and coach posted jaw-dropping off-season and in-game footage of ridiculous chase down blocks and dunks at practice. All the while, Teagan has kept her head down, quietly improving her basketball and athletic abilities.
“She’s really gifted athletically and I don’t think she knows what she’s capable of yet,” Amber said. “She’s a very humble kid and she’s very hard on her herself like I mentioned before. When she learns to use all the tools that she has and when to use them on the basketball court, she’s going to be unstoppable.”
For Teagan, she’s only been actively trying to improve her vertical since 8th grade and with the results, she’ll have opposing teams and players nervous to come anywhere near her on the court.
“Watching all the men and watching basketball all the time on TV and then seeing everyone be able to dunk it’s really been a motivator jumping up to slap the tops of doors,” Teagan explained. “I first got rim when I was maybe an 8th grader and it just kept motivating me to keep going and work at it because I was close.”
With the pieces Coach Erickson has coming back next year, there’s no reason the Lady Mavericks can’t make a push to be the top team in Class C but for both Teagan and her mother and coach, they’ll miss the third piece of the puzzle in their glue guard Jaycee.
“It’ll be tough,” Teagan said. “She does a lot for our team so I think we’ll need someone to step up and fill her position but yeah I’ll miss her a lot but I think it’ll be okay.”