EAST HELENA — Basketball tryouts at East Helena aren’t until next week, but Vigilantes girls coach Carson Bender has had his team working in the gym in a much different way.
Bender and his players have been helping kids in and around the East Helena area by coaching alongside the Elkhorn Youth Basketball League.
“They have a lot of fun, they love working with the kids and these kids are great," Bender said. "Our girls get to be the heroes. It’s fun for them and it’s good for them to see how big of an impact they have on the younger kids.”
Elkhorn Basketball is a recreational league in Montana for girls in grades K-6. Coach and player requests are accepted and will be placed on rosters with other players that attend the same school within the district.
Dymond Root is a senior on the EHHS team and has enjoyed her time coaching many of the kids in the same community where she was raised.
“We’re just really giving back to our community," Root said. "East Helena has done so much for us, so we decided we wanted to give back and show the younger girls what our program’s about.”
Peyton Pope, Taryn Cobb and Liliana Bartruff are a group of third graders who play together on the same Elkhorn team called the East Helena Tigers. They love to play the game and have learned a lot from spending time with Root, Brooke Harris and the rest of the Vigilantes girls basketball squad.
“My favorite part about practice is that I learn new things, because I didn’t really know that much when I started here,” said Liliana.
When asked about her favorite coach, she responded, “Coach Dymond, because she’s super nice and I’m pretty sure she’s the one who taught me most of the things that I know now.”
“They’re fierce and they're super-duper good,” Liliana said when asked about the East Helena team. Added Cobb, "My favorite part (about basketball) is that you can learn new things."
Pope, Cobb, Bartruff and the rest of the confident Tigers team are looking forward to their chance to step on the court as future East Helena players.