BELT — If you find yourself at a Belt girls basketball game, you’ll see the always-energized head coach Jeff Graham enthusiastically communicating with his players for an entire four quarters. Next to him on the bench is a new face though, with former Twin Bridges and Montana State superstar Peyton Ferris coaching up the kids as an assistant.
“Peyton just decided to take a chance and move up to Belt. We couldn’t believe,” head coach Jeff Graham said. “We just lucked out.”
To wind up with an assistant at the high school level as accomplished as Ferris takes a little luck.
Over the last few years, Ferris played professionally in Spain, became an assistant coach with the Cats and most recently was the Director of Operations at MSU last season.
“I was in Bozeman and then life things happened, ended up getting a job over here and was just kind of going to stay low-key and out of basketball but God just brought me to it and it’s been a great experience so far,” Ferris said.
Graham and the Husky girls have been reaping the benefits of having the former Big Sky MVP on the bench as the team is 12-2 on the season.
“If I’m like I can’t do this, I’m like I know I can because if she did it, I can do it,” sophomore Danika Lords said. “If she’s giving it to me, I know it’ll work because she was all-time.”
“This group is something special. You can get on them as hard as anyone no matter what the level is and they always want to keep going,” Ferris explained. “They take the constructive criticism to get better because they’re hungry for it.”
Graham and Ferris’ friendship spans more than decade as basketball linked them together. Their most notable back and forth, in the 2011 Class C state title game where Ferris dropped 41 points in a loss to Graham’s Belt team. The two are now side-by-side with both coaching styles meshing well.
“You see why he’s one of the best coaches in the state. You go into practice, the expectations are there. He brings the high energy. Once you enter that gym everything just kind of flows together,” Ferris said.
Ferris’ personal relationships brought her to Belt but with the continued success of the program and the continuity with the players and coaching staff, Ferris might have found a home.