HELENA — As the Helena Capital and Helena High girls basketball teams prepare to square off for the final time this season, both coaches noted nothing about getting to this point was normal.
“I don’t think anything prepares you for coaching in a pandemic,” said Helena Capital head coach Katie Garcin-Forba.
That being said, both coaches know this has been what they've made of it, and both believe they've made the most up to this point.
"It's just kind of crazy, but I am amazed every day at people's ability just to adapt, and our girls adapt every day. They show up and they work hard," said Garcin-Forba. "For our seniors -- it's definitely not the senior season that they envisioned. That being said, they're making the most of it and doing it just in remarkable fashion."
“We've had some disappointments along the way, with games being canceled because of weather, because of COVID situations or this, that and the other," said Helena High head coach Ben Dudek. "Our players, our staff ... we really stayed connected through the difficulties.”
With crosstown being an integral part of the fabric of Helena sports, it’s hard to not think about prior meetings between the two schools with a fondness for the craziness. Despite that fondness, Garcin-Forba said what they have right now is better than the alternative.
“It's a different feel. I think that we've made the most of it. It's nice that we have our cheerleaders there to be able to create some crowd noise for us, and they've been huge this season to help create energy in the gym. It's different. But again, I think the alternative of just not playing would be way, way worse for us," Garcin-Forba said.
As the two teams get set to step on the floor one final time this season, the key to the game for each coach is relatively similar.
“We're also getting to the point in the year where it's so much about us and, going into it, the mindset of teams have to stop us," said Garcin-Forba. "Depending on what they do, how do we counter that?”
“It's just trying to slow those great players down on the defensive end, and obviously on the offensive end we're going to have to hit some shots," said Dudek. "I think we can definitely do that. And I believe we're ready to do that to compete”
The Bruins and the Bengals will square off one final time this year on Friday night at 7:15 p.m.