BUTTE – The expectations soared pretty high before the season even started in Hamilton, but the boys have raised hopes even more. The Broncs dominated the Western A divisional tournament in Butte, and now head to the class A state bracket a perfect 23-0.
The Broncs don’t suit up a ton of size. Star senior Carter Kearns is 6’4, but he plays all over the court. No one else is listed over 6’2, but they come at you with waves of skilled athletes and shooters.
No one has caught them all season, and Hamilton could be getting even better. The competition should get tougher this time of year, but the Broncs rolled through three games at the divisional tournament, winning each game by double digits. They hammered Libby in the first round, 71-45, Beat Dillon for a fourth time in the semifinals, 56-44, and then ended Frenchtown’s upset run in the championship, 54-37.
“About halfway through the season we thought, maybe we could actually do this,” admitted Kearns after the championship victory. “I know Dillon did it last year, and maybe we could do the same. It’s actually, it’s a dream. It’s a dream really to be undefeated. I never thought we could do that. But really it’s been a dream season, and I’ve loved every moment of it.”
“As long as we give great effort and really want it, then whatever happens with the ball, the ball tends to go our way. But it doesn’t matter as long as we play together and play hard,” said head coach Travis Blome. He then cautioned that nothing will come easy at state. “Whether we have a target or not, everyone is there to play on Saturday night. I think we’re all 0-0 going into it now, and we’ve got to play that way.”
Blome is right to expect a challenge at the next level. Top seed Hamilton gets a very difficult state tournament first round game versus Billings Central. The Broncs will take on the Rams at 3:30 Thursday afternoon.