GREAT FALLS — The basketball season is about to tip off for the Great Falls CMR girls, and first-year head coach Haley Vining is ready to take her program to the next level.
Vining played at CMR when she was in high school and has been apart of the Rustlers coaching staff. Her history with the program gives reason to why she feels she is a perfect fit to head this program, but she also believes she came back for a bigger agenda.
“Being back in Great Falls and just seeing the need for somebody to take control of girls basketball in this town,” said Vining. “I think that kind of made it a good fit.”
Vining has proved all preseason that she was the right person for the job. She has gained the trust of her players and built relationships that will help on court performances during the course of the season. Since being hired, she says the team has responded “super positively” to her taking charge.
“We worked really hard this summer. When you spend those long hours in that gym, it forms a bond and its something super cool to be apart of,” said Vining.
The work that they have been putting in has already started to change the culture of the program. The players are feeling the difference in the program and agree that it is trending in the right direction.
“She pushes us really hard. That’s what we need for this year to be successful,” said senior Kylie Henderson. “The intensity this year is crazy. Everyone just competes.”
This years team will looking to turn things around after being defeated in the quarter finals of the consolation bracket during the state playoffs. Vining mentioned there were some positives that they can take away from last season to build on with the addition of some new faces to the varsity squad.
They will play their first game at home against Kalispell Flathead on Friday at 7 p.m.