High School SportsHigh School Girls Basketball


'Just our Cinderella story': White Sulphur Springs girls headed to state for first time in nearly two decades

White Sulphur GBB
Posted at 10:52 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 00:54:18-05

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Coach Mandy Britt and the White Sulphur Springs girls basketball team have created a buzz around the community.

After finishing the regular season with an overall record of 11-6, the Hornets placed third at the District 12C tournament after losing to West Yellowstone in a semifinal game. The next week, White Sulphur Springs returned the favor, defeating West Yellowstone in a semifinal game at the Western C divisional tournament.

That win ultimately propelled the Hornets, who lost to Twin Bridges in the divisional championship, back to the Class C state tournament for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

“The best way I've been thinking about describing it is as just our Cinderella story," said senior Kendra Manger. "Like, everything came together for White Sulphur, which is kind of, you know, we have been known for usually last in the district. This is our first year winning a non play-in game, which is really impressive for us, so it’s just crazy going from the bottom to the top. And it didn’t come easy, it was definitely a lot of hard work."

Manger has made the move from post to point guard and has committed to play for the Rocky Mountain Battlin' Bears next year. She and Jessa Rasmussen are the lone seniors on the roster and have remained inseparable since they were in elementary school.

"Everything we do is together," Manger said of her teammates.

The twin towers duo of Natalie Fisher and Julianna Feddes, who moved back to White Sulphur from Absarokee before the school year started, have dominated down low all year long.

“It’s amazing. We haven’t been (to state) as a program in over 19 years. We're just really looking forward to it, and I think this year everything really just pieced together and we’re ready to take advantage of what we’ve been given," said Fisher, 6-foot-2 junior post player.

"We have a really good community here, we have people that watched us grow up, watched us play fifth and sixth grade basketball, and just the whole community is behind us, and it's just really good to know we have so much support," she added.

Hard work seems to be the leading theme throughout Meagher County.

"We’ve worked hard to get here. We have had a lot of ups and downs since the start, you know, and so to get to this season and have teammates who are willing to put in the work ... it's been a really great season," said Rasmussen, a three-year starter. "We haven’t been to state in 19 years, which was the last time that anybody has been to state for basketball, so I am super excited to get to enjoy the experience."

Britt, the Hornets' third-year coach, started coaching Rasmussen and most of her teammates at the junior high levels.

"I think the mentality here for a long time has just been that, you know, you can show up but you don't necessarily have to win, and now it's kind of like, 'Hey, we expect to win when we go out,'" Britt said. "And we call it swagger. When you walk onto the court, when you walk into a gym, have some swagger, know that you're supposed to be there, your teammates got your back, so just show up and play hard, and now I feel like — whereas last year we would lose some of those close games — this year, when it's a close game, the girls just know that we're going to come out and we're going to win. It's a mentality that the girls have a lot on their own, and then as coaches hopefully we have helped them build that a little bit."

Britt and her assistant coach, Makayla Paul, continue to praise their student-athletes as they embark on the journey to Great Falls Thursday morning after the Hornets' community sendoff celebration.

White Sulphur Springs meets Northern C champion Roy-Winifred in a first-round game at 5 p.m. Thursday.