GREAT FALLS – Finding team success during a rebuilding period takes time, as the Great Falls High girls basketball team is finding out. It’s going into the third season since the lady Bison made a title game appearance back in 2016. Last year was a learning year for a young Great Falls High team. But the good news is, the team only graduated 2 seniors, having the majority of the team back will help as the season approaches.
“I think moving forward, last year we had big shoes to fill and this year it’s nice to have familiar faces,” said GFH senior Erin Watt. “There’s a lot more team chemistry coming back. I think that’s going to be a really good stepping stone for this season.”
“I think it’s good because I think they have experience now. A lot of our young kids know what to expect now,” said GFH head coach Jerry Schmitz. “They’ve gotten better from last year to this year, at least that’s what it looks like to me. I think that’s big for us, hopefully we can capitalize on that.”
The Bison’s toughness will be put to the test right out of the gate. The team doesn’t have a home game until January, with the first four games being on the road. The Bison head to Kalispell for the first two games, followed by trips to Missoula Sentinel and Helena High, both school that were in the AA title game last year.
“The biggest thing is definitely energy coming off the bus. Especially when we go up to Kalispell, that’s a long trip, everyone knows that trip sucks,” said GFH junior Jorgie Hawthorne. “But I think if we come with energy off the bus and we’re really fired up in warm-ups and focus, we should be okay.”
“On-the-road games can be difficult because you’re just on the bus for hours and then you’re just not usually in the head space you are at home,” said Watt. “So I think just focusing, I think mental toughness is going to be a huge thing for us.”
But Great Falls High can only control what they can control, and that starts with improving the team’s tempo on the hardwood.
“I think we definitely need to be more aggressive shooting and attacking the basket, because last year we were kind of lackadaisical with it,” said Hawthorne. “I think if we work together and really work on attacking with our offense, I think we should be just fine.”
The Bison’s season will begin at Flathead on Friday, December 7th.