TWIN BRIDGES — Hannah Konen's second season as the head coach of the Twin Bridges girls basketball team has seen the Falcons follow an identical path to state — fall to Manhattan Christian in the District 12C title game and then bounce back to defeat the Eagles in the divisional championship to lock up a No. 1 seed at the State C tournament.
Just like last year, Konen gave her team 24 hours to mull over its district championship loss before the Falcons turned their attention to claiming the Western C crown.
"You don't want a loss to have to be the motivating factor," Konen said at a practice last week of the Falcons first conference loss of the season. "That's a game we certainly felt we should have won. But we didn't dwell on it for long."
That move-on-quickly mentality now has the Falcons back in the state tournament where they'll face 2S Ekalaka in the opening round on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at MetraPark in Billings. Twin Bridges' fourth place finish at state last year saw the Falcons play in four games. They're now hoping that experience pays off as they set their sights on bringing home hardware.
"It's gonna be very important," said junior Ayla Janzen. "Our first game (last season), just getting used to the basket, the size of the gym, the lights, the stands, everything. That took some getting used to. So having that experience under our belt will definitely help us this year."
Junior Ruby Waller said the Falcons run at state last season — one that saw Twin Bridges earn two wins on the consolation side of the bracket — should provide plenty of confidence for this group.
"It's huge," Waller said. "I think it's gonna take some of those nerves off. We know our abilities, we know that we're a bunch of girls that really just want to be out there and love the game.
"We always cherish another chance to compete. So we just have to focus on that."