Rustler basketball more than ready

Alecks Leavey

It’s that time of year again where all the practices, hard work, and resilience pay off.

With the final regular season games set for this coming weekend against Billings Senior and Skyview, both the C.M. Russell High School varsity boys’ and girls’ eyes are locked on what lies ahead: state.

Although their 11-7 record is far deviated from the original blueprint, the boys varsity will roll into state with high hopes and great expectations.

“I think we will win,” said Colton Carter, a CMR junior. “[We] are all really hard workers.”

Part of their bumpy season has been attributed to the turnover battle, which as of late has cost the team some tough losses including last weekend’s defeats to Billings West and Bozeman. On Friday, the boys lost to Senior 65-52, following another tough 77-55 loss to Bozeman on Saturday. That night, CMR turned the ball over to the Hawks 23 times; an issue clearly addressed by the team and coaches the following practice.

And yet, the consensus is overall positive, as the boys anxiously await playoffs and a chance to bring the championship back to CMR for the third straight year.

While the girls also lost to Bozeman 43-33 on Saturday, Chad Olson, coach of seven years, considered the 53-45 victory over the once undefeated Billings West on Friday night an astounding success.

“I think we had a great weekend. We beat the first place team in our conference,” Olson said. “Obviously we would have loved to play better against Bozeman, but we are not discouraged at all”

And as March 10 looms nearer, the realization sinks in that the regular season standings are gone and every game counts twofold when state weekend arrives in Butte.

“We know if we come to play, we can compete with anyone in the state.”