BILLINGS — Struggling for the words to describe Billings Skyview’s Brooke Berry? Let her coach help.
“I’ve described her as a Corvette on steroids," said second-year Falcons leader Brent Montague. "She’s sleek, she’s long, she’s fast and she’s polished.”
Montague let Berry drive the car last year when she averaged 16 points a game, second-best in the state. But now, it’s her ride. Through the first half of the season, Berry leads Class AA in scoring and assists and has Skyview off to a 5-2 start, thanks to a new team mindset after the program snapped a 19-year state drought last March.
“We walk into every game with confidence, knowing we should win or at least keep it close," said Berry. "There’s no reason for us to be blown out like it was in the previous years of the program.”
“I think the biggest thing is belief," added Montague. "I think there was a lot of hope last year. I think these kids now have played a lot of basketball together and a lot of good basketball. They’ve had valuable experience.”
Berry included. The junior has been one of the best scorers in the state since she entered high school, but Montague has challenged her to become a better overall player, and it’s working.
“Definitely on defense," Berry said. "He makes me work hard at practice every single day. I just know what he expects from me at practice and it shows in a game. I’ve definitely matured as a player.”
“I have seen a big change in her in the last year, just from that standpoint," echoed Montague. "Where she’s at right now, she still has a lot of room for improvement, and that’s scary.”
As does the entire team, evidenced in a loss three weeks ago to undefeated Billings West when Skyview let a lead get stolen away in the final seconds of a 47-44 loss.
“Let’s just say that I may or my not have spent a night on the rims that night," Montague said. "I think about it often.”
“That’s a gut one," Berry concurred. "That was a tough one, but I think next time we play them, we’re just going want it so much more because we know what we can do.”
“We didn’t really get brought down by it, we just took it as a lesson -- not really a loss, just a lesson," said fellow junior Cami Harris. "And we got better from it.”
Since that game, the Falcons have won five straight by an average of 24 points per game. Think they know the rematch is Friday? Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Golden Dome. West has now beaten Skyview 17 straight times, dating back to the 2011-12 season.