The Wildcats will be looking to rebound from last year’s 4-17 season as they open their 2017-18 basketball campaign Saturday at Stillwater Christian School in Kalispell.
With six seniors on this season’s squad, head coach Chris Finberg is hoping experience will be the key to success.
“Having that level of experience should make a tremendous difference for us this season,” Finberg said. “Three of the six seniors we will have this year got a lot of playing time on the varsity level last year and two of them got a ton of playing time on the junior varsity level. Our other senior is a transfer from Glacier, so he will not be able to play until the end of the semester and will miss our first 12 games. He will be ready for the end of the season and tournament time, though.”
The Wildcats lost three seniors from last year’s squad, but Finberg feels this year’s team will have a deeper bench, which should open up more options on both the offensive and defensive side of the court.
“Last year, we had to slow things down because our depth was not where we wanted it to be. This year, we should have a little more depth and more athleticism, so we should be able to get up and down the court a little better. A lot of that will be dictated by how these guys show what they can do in practice and games. We should find our identity as the season goes along,” Finberg said. “We will have a chance to do some pressing on defense this season, but again we will have to pick our spots of when to use it. We probably will not press a lot, but we will have that option.”
Finberg says the senior trio of Austin Green, Matthew Morrison and Quintin Schriver should provide a tough matchup for opponents.
“We will be looking for those three to use their experience from last season to help lead us this year. Those three, along with Drew Morgan and Glacier transfer Tucker Salmonsen should help make us a tough squad,” Finberg said. “I think we have some strong competitors on this year’s team, and that’s what we want to see. We have some kids that just came off a state championship in football, and that should helps us, too.”
The Wildcats averaged 43 points-per-game last season while giving up 56 per contest, but Finberg says he hopes to see those numbers reversed with the experience and depth this year’s team brings to the court.
“We will just try to get better every game and hope that we are playing our best basketball come tournament time. That’s our goal,” he said.
The Wildcats will travel to take on Stillwater Christian School in their opening game of the season Saturday, a team that defeated Columbia Falls in February last season, 75-43. The junior varsity will tip off at 1:30 p.m. with the varsity playing at 4:45.
The Wildcats will be back in action in Missoula Dec. 8 as they take on Dillon in the Tip-Off Tournament at 4:15 p.m. The team will continue the tournament against Frenchtown at 11:45 a.m. the following day.
The 2018 conference tournament will be in Ronan Feb. 15-17 with divisionals in Butte Feb. 22-24. The state tournament will be in Bozeman March 1-3.