BOZEMAN — For the first time in history all four high school basketball teams in Bozeman are headed to state at the same time. Both programs from Bozeman High and both programs from Gallatin head to Butte on Thursday for the State AA tournament.
And the team making their first-ever appearance at State, the Gallatin girls.
“Going into this season, that was my expectation," Gallatin Head Coach Wes Holmquist said. "That we could get this team into the state tournament, so I’m really excited for the girls that they get to experience this.”
Their team is young and hungry, and everything is coming together at just the right time.
“Bottom line, you know, this group of girls has never played together," Holmquist said. "We play a lot in the offseason and the summer. We were putting together a whole new puzzle when this season started.”
Despite this being their first-ever state appearance, the ultimate goal is to go all the way.
“We belong to be there, and that we can win state,” Gallatin sophomore Emma Hardman said.
Over at Bozeman, their team has an opposite makeup compared to Gallatin. It’s a group of seniors who get one last run at state together.
“It feels great for our team, especially our seniors, because they play a lot of minutes for us, and for them to go out on a high note like this, this is awesome,” Bozeman High Head Coach Kati Mobley said.
They were the seven seed at the divisional tournament and absolutely shook up the bracket to make it state.
“It’s March, so I think that it’s great that we had that opportunity," Bozeman High senior Avery Burkhart said. "We got the chance to shake things up, prove ourselves as one of the top teams in the state. So, it feels great, especially after last year not going it feels even better.”
Just like Gallatin, they want to prove they can make it all the way.
“I think that we all want it really bad," Bozeman High Senior Tailyn Black said. "You know, we’ve worked so hard to get to this moment and now we really have it, so I think we’re all ready to do it.”
Both teams tip off on Thursday, Gallatin at 12 p.m. against Missoula Hellgate and Bozeman at 8 p.m. against Kalispell Flathead.