TWIN BRIDGES — The rapid transformation the Twin Bridges' girls basketball team underwent last season was eye-opening.
With a roster boasting just one senior and a first-year coach, the Falcons went from a group of players that had never advanced to the divisional semifinals — let alone made it to the State C tournament — to Western C champions, upending perennial District 12C juggernaut Manhattan Christian for the divisional crown.
Twin Bridges then headed to state for the first time since 2018, when the potent tandem of Kailee Oliverson and RaeAnne Bendon had the Falcons dreaming of hoisting hardware at the Butte Civic Center.
Last season's campaign and that 2018 season ended the same way — with the Falcons falling in the opening round, surviving two loser-out games to make it to the third-place game, and ultimately settling for fourth place.
But while that 2018 finish felt like a letdown for a team loaded with senior talent, last season's conclusion marked a significant step forward for a program that had been in the midst of a four-year state drought.
"It was really exciting for us to play Friday night at divisionals, Saturday night, make it to state and walk away with two wins," said head coach Hannah Konen, now in her second season guiding Twin Bridges.
"Obviously, we'd like to have some hardware," Konen continued. "But it was just huge in boosting our confidence. I like to tell the girls that last year was about our potential, and this year is about reaching it."
In other words, while last season's conclusion was an improvement over years past, the Falcons aren't about to get complacent.
"It made us a lot more hungry this year," said junior Emma Konen, Hannah's younger sister. "Now we're just focusing on what's in front of us to be able to get further when it comes to state.
"We have to take care of business now to take care of business in March."
Business has been going well for Twin Bridges so far, with the Falcons rolling to a 3-0 record and posting double-digit wins in all those games.
With the real grind of the season set to begin after the new year, the Falcons have no doubt about what their objective is as they look toward the postseason.
"We want to get back to state," said junior Allie Dale, the Falcons' top scorer last season. "We want to take first obviously. And we're spending a lot of time working on team bonding again."
Hannah Konen had a memorable first year leading a talented squad and she's confident this year's group is poised to do even greater things.
"We'll hopefully be better suited to have a good season," she said. "Getting that state experience, it was a bit of a shell shock last season. But we're just taking things one game at a time and we know that we've got to prepare for every single opponent.
"Our goal is just to get better everyday."