Big Timber’s girls capped the Class B basketball season with their first state championship in 40 years. The Sheepherders entered the year with high expectations after playing in the 2020 state semifinals, and they delivered.
“Kind of our saying this year is ‘Family.’ We’re a team, we’re a family. We do everything together," Big Timber head coach Kim Finn said. "No arguing, we were just for each other all the time. There was no drama. It was just a great year and this is a perfect ending to a perfect year.”
“We have worked so hard for this. I remember in third grade talking with the seniors that I’m playing with now, how we want to win a state championship. And we did it," Big Timber senior Hailee Brandon said. "We did it undefeated and we did it for our community. Our community is so helpful for all of us. They come to every game, they donate stuff to us. It’s just unbelievable we could do it for everybody.”
The Herders, led by sophomore point guard Bailey Finn, proved they were the most complete team in 2021. After the divisional and state tournaments last year showed the kinks in the armor, Big Timber went back to the drawing board in the offseason.
“Bailey was always kind of a pretty good player, so everybody kind of stepped it up this summer to be scorers like her. Last year we kind of faltered in everybody being able to contribute, so last summer I said, ‘We need everybody to be a factor,'" Kim Finn said. "This year coming back we knew that we had the team. Everybody that contributed in every little way, we knew we could win with everybody.”
Perhaps the perfect example of that growth and development was Brandon, who took home State B MVP honors.
“She just has such tenacity. She has such competitiveness that she just wants to win so badly, she’ll do whatever she can to get it done," Kim Finn said. "She’s just a great player. She worked really hard this summer. Last year she was an OK, player, an average player, but couldn’t get it done when we needed it. She worked really hard – all the girls did – but she really, really improved and helped our team become where we are.”
Keep an eye on the Herders in 2022, as well. With all-staters Bailey Finn and Emily Cooley returning, Big Timber will again be a force to be reckoned with.