TOWNSEND — The Townsend girls basketball team completed the regular season a perfect 18-0. The Bulldogs won a handful of tight games, something that’s only making them better.
“Every time you have a tough game and do things well at the end, they gain confidence in me and I gain confidence in them,” Townsend head coach Norman Darlinton said. “We feel pretty good in tight, close contests.”
That confidence stems directly from the man on the sidelines. A certified basketball junkie, Darlinton becomes nearly obsessive in the winter.
“He’s always talking about basketball, sending us updates, the box scores,” senior Tavia Rooney said. “We’re always surprised and love to hear it, too, so we know what to expect.”
“I like to go scouting. It’s so easy to use the internet and HUDL and all that. But I like to go to the other gyms,” Darlinton said. “I think I’ve been to Manhattan’s gym five times this year. Every chance I get I go to watch a 5B contest, so that’s kind of my release. There’s nothing but basketball for three months.”
He’s careful not to burn the girls out, but he certainly doesn’t hand out days off. Darlinton’s idea of team bonding? More hoops. The Bulldogs made the short trip to Helena to watch Carroll College earlier this season.
“It’s pretty much basketball all the time,” junior Peyton Vogl said. “But the trips we take, the ones we went to Carroll for the games, that’s still basketball but taking our mind off our own games is a little easier.”
Townsend opens up the District 5B tournament on Friday against the winner of Thursday’s first-round matchup between Three Forks and Manhattan.