GREAT FALLS – Last season, the Great Falls CMR girls basketball team finished with a 13-10 record and a trip to the Class AA state tournament.
But what a difference a year makes. The Rustlers graduated a good majority of the team’s scoring, leaving CMR with some fresh faces to see the floor this year. That brings some growing pains and starting over, something that’s been an adjustment to coach Brian Crosby and his crew.
“Of our 36 players in our program, 22 are freshmen, so it’s a lot of teaching right now. We’re spending a lot of time just kind of going over the basics,” said Crosby. “It’s tough for me, because I kind of go a little fast sometimes, but right now we’re on one hand getting ready for a game, but mostly it’s a lot of teaching. It’s a lot of, ‘This is how we do things, this is why we do things.’ Hopefully that stuff in the long run will help us.”
“All of our younger players are really fast, so I think we’re going to have a lot of fast plays and fast movements. Besides that, I guess just keep everyone motivated,” said CMR junior Emily Funseth.
Speed and quickness of the game — that seemed to be a recurring theme with this group. Unlike last year, this team vows to up the tempo to a new level to get the ball up and down the floor.
“Probably a lot faster. Last year’s team was more technical and they worked through things. I think we’re going to do a lot of fast breaks and just getting the ball up and moving it as fast as we can,” said Funseth.
“I think we’re going to focus more on moving the ball around,” junior Kiely Gunderson said. “Last year we had great shooters, so we’re really going to have to focus on using our speed this year, and that’s what will help keep us in the game.”
But it’s all about buying in. Once everyone is on the same page, the wins will fall into place. The Rustlers have the pieces, now it’s just about molding them into the right form.
“I think that if these kids are patient and they kind of trust the process, they’ll be fine. We really have some good, competitive kids,” said Crosby. “We have kids that came from volleyball that had a very successful year, we have kids that came from soccer and they had a really good year, we have some kids that came from softball. Our multi-sport athletes have come from programs that have had lots of success.”
CMR will begin the season playing on the road at Kalispell Glacier on Dec. 7.