GREAT FALLS — The University of Providence Argos basketball team just finished the trip of a lifetime, playing for Team USA in Merida, Mexico. They’re back in the state getting ready to take on even more tough competition. Their first game at home is against Thomas More University, who won last year’s NAIA national tournament. It doesn’t get much bigger than playing the defending champs, but they have momentum acquired from their play in Mexico.
They even got some hardware to bring back, getting a silver medal for their 3-2 effort, playing 5 games in 5 days. They beat Argentina twice, Brazil once, and suffered two losses to Mexico.
All in all, it was a rewarding experience that head coach Bill Himmelberg says will benefit the team moving forward into Frontier conference play.
"No question, this is the greatest thing our team could have done on and off the court,” Himmelberg said. “We were able to face adversity and be able to see things that some kids are never going to see in their life. We had kids go on an airplane that had never been in an airplane before, and we had kids that had never gone to a foreign country. It’s a lifetime experience that they had here and it's helped us prepare as we move forward in the Frontier Conference."
There was a lot to take in but being able to wear team USA on those jerseys is something they’ll never forget. Himmelberg says the physicality they got during games is expected to help propel them into nonconference and eventually conference play as well.
"Frontier Conference is tough and physical. There isn't going to be a team that's going to be physical with us and affect us. It’s not even going to affect us after having gone through what we went through down here."
“My favorite part of the trip was definitely putting on the Team USA gear and being able to represent the United States. People were so friendly and came to greet us. It was great to wear the U.S. on my chest.”
The Lady Argos are scheduled to open non-conference play against defending NAIA champions Thomas More University on Saturday November 6 in the McLaughlin Center.