HELENA – Every good basketball team needs a good utility player who can shoot the lights out and play some shut-down defense whenever needed.
Luckily for the Helena High Bengals, they have two.
Payton and Paige Aasved are not only identical twins, but almost identical basketball players, which is great for a team looking to defend its state championship.
“On the defensive end, they get after it,” said Helena head coach Eric Peterson. “On the offensive end, they’re just playing a bit more loose. They can both shoot the ball well, so that’s a nice attribute to have. They can come out and, we start Paige and Payton comes off the bench, but it’s perfect for us because she usually goes in for her sister and there’s no letdown. We’ve seen that in the last few games in the fact that, you know, maybe Paige might have a hard time starting the game and Payton comes in and gives us a spark. There is just no letdown.”
That consistency has been a product of hard work over the course of the season and feeling comfortable out on the floor.
“We started being more confident and we spent a lot of time in the gym shooting,” said Payton Aasved. “But we’re just really starting to, I don’t know, be confident.”
“We’ve been shooting more with confidence and focusing on relaxing more when shooting,” added her sister Paige Aasved.
“Lately we’ve seen it on the floor that, whether they are starting the game or not starting the game, or at any point within the game, their confidence level is at a high spot right now throughout the season,” said Peterson. “And I think they are just believing in themselves and beliving in what they can do a little bit more and they’re starting to show that on the floor.”
Of course, the bond they share as sisters and teammates helps out a little, too.
“We really like playing together. We just sometimes, I don’t know, like read where each other …” said Payton.
“Each other are at and it’s fun to be able to do that together,” continued Paige.
“We do. Like we can tell what the other one is thinking,” added Payton.
“We love being together,” finished Paige.
Baised on their season so far, they are both thinking about bringing back a state title to Helena High.
“They’re model students, better citizens and great basketball players that have really improved as the year’s gone on,” said Peterson.
The Bengals will open the Class AA state tournament Thursday against Great Falls CMR at 3:30 p.m. at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings. A full list of the tournament parings can be see here.