FORT BENTON — After winning the Class C state girls basketball title last year, the Fort Benton Lady Longhorns basketball team is back this season with a new head coach and fresh new faces.
After head coach Cassie Pimperton went 22-2 last season with a Class C state title in hand, she made the conscious decision to step away from coaching and spend more time with her kids. Her replacement? Former Fort Benton High School standout Eddie Fultz who went on to play at Montana Western with coaching stops at Bethany College in Kansas as well as Plains High School in northwest Montana.
“They kind of heard about us in Plains so they called us up, Cassie called me up when she decided she wasn’t going to coach anymore and it just happened to work out,” coach Fultz recalled.
As for the players, the adjustment has been seamless having Fultz at the helm.
“So having him come back was really awesome just bringing back the family vibe again and it’s just been really good,” senior Cloe Kalanick said.
The team will bring back a roster with a bunch of young faces and seasoned veterans looking to step up to replace what they lost. One of them being all-state selection and MSU-Billings freshman, Aspen Giese. Her younger sister, junior guard, Emerson Giese will look to help fill the void that Aspen left.
“It’s definitely pretty weird, she was really competitive, she pushed all of us super hard so there’s a lot of change,” Emerson Giese said. “We got a new coach, a bunch of new players, three of our starters are gone, they were seniors so it’s just going to be tough with that transition but once we get all the fundamentals down I feel like it will kind of flow a little bit better.”
Although it’s early for the new look defending state champs, Fultz is confident in the teams progression with a new system.
“The older girls especially are really running it well already but just getting that fluidity and getting to know the in’s and outs, and all the X’s and O’s that go with it, that’s going to take some time," Fultz said.