MISSOULA – Another year, another talented group of Knights.
Missoula Hellgate’s boys once again have the pieces for a successful basketball season. The program has a tradition of success under head coach Jeff Hays, but it’s using some new-school ideas.
Hellgate fits the current trend of position-less basketball. The NBA and college game have been moving toward a preference of long, athletic stars that can play and guard multiple positions. That’s exactly what this Knights squad looks like. Now they’re trying to put together the right combinations that could result in a dominating team on both sides of the floor.
“We have a lot of expectations, but I think we’re also willing to put in the work,” said senior guard Matt Baldridge. “I don’t think we are cocky. I think we’re all pretty humble, and we know what we have to do.’
“We’ve got a lot of upperclassmen this year, and I just think we’ve got a lot of leadership,” said junior guard and Montana Grizzly recruit Rollie Worster. “We’re all around the 6-(foot)-3 to 6-4 height, and can all run. And we’re pretty athletic.”
“We can run and jump, we’re long, and we have experience,” said Hays. “But we need to make sure we utilize those things. That’s what we have been emphasizing in practice. You just can’t be long, you’ve got to play long. We have an opportunity to have a fantastic year both on and off the floor, and we want to take advantage of it.”
The Knights open the season at home on Friday and Saturday. All of Missoula’s Class AA schools host the Billings schools for six total boys and girls doubleheaders. Hellgate hosts Billings West on Friday evening, and Billings Senior on Saturday afternoon.