The Billings West girls basketball team will have a new face running the show — kind of.
After spending several years as an assistant under former head coach Charlie Johnson, Jason Amundsen is putting his own twist on the program.
“The relationships are there. The evaluation of skills are there and it's been relatively seamless. There's been some small changes, but they're so coach-able it's easy," Amundsen said. "Some of the emphasis are just a little different. If I'm forcing the ball one way or another. How many passes I want going into a shot. Our assist to turnover ration. Just some things I'm talking about."
There are some big shoes to fill for Amundsen, as the West girls are coming off their first outright state title since 2011. The pieces are there for the Golden Bears to make a run again as some key players return.
“I think we're still working hard like we always do," said senior Halle Haber. "West has always kind of had a target on its back, so I think we're doing what we've always done and pushing ourselves to work harder every day."
Fresh off a state volleyball title, it’s admittedly taken West a bit to get into the rhythm of hoops season. But the Bears have a chance to pull off a sweep of the fall and winter sports, something that is lingering in their minds.
“There definitely is a sweep and we've kind of joked about getting three in a row, kind of thing, so that's definitely in our mind," senior Sydney Pierce said.
“I think there's a little excitement there, and hopefully we take things one game at a time," Amundsen said. "If that ends up being where we end up, that would be great for them."
West opened the season with a pair of wins in Missoula and is at home against Helena and Helena Capital this Friday and Saturday.