HELENA — It's no surprise the Helena Capital girls basketball team is going to look different this year after winning two state titles and subsequently losing a corps of the players that helped them get there.
However, despite that, the Bruins feel confident in their ability to step onto the court and succeed in their home opener against Bozeman Gallatin on Friday with a different lineup and a new style.
"We've talked a lot about the tradition we have here at Capital and we graduated some great players. We've had really successful teams at our sub-varsity level. We expect our kids to get — to be ready to make that jump to the varsity level so that they can come in and contribute," said Helena Capital's head girls basketball coach Katie Garcin-Forba. "We want to continue the tradition that's been started and maintain that."
The Bruins lost players like Paige Bartsch, Dani Bartsch, Audrey Hofer and Mara McGinley to name a handful after last season, but instead of lamenting over the loss, Garcin-Forba and her squad got to work on developing a game plan for the upcoming season.
"This year we're a lot faster, and we're just gonna get out and run on teams," said Capital senior Rachael Stacey. "That's something that we've done in the past, but it's just a different speed this year, and it's something nobody's really seen."
As for the up and coming players, the Bruins feel like the entire program from the freshman to varsity level does a great job of preparing players, so when the time comes they'll be able to fall into place with little hesitation.
"Our program does a great job of bringing our younger girls all together and like really growing us as a team," said junior Kayla Almquist. "Like practices, [junior varsity], varsity — JV really challenges us and we really challenge them, so I think it's like a great mix for us."
Though the Bruins have their hopes, Garcin-Forba has been around long enough to know that the Bruins will likely make some mistakes because of their youth, but also believes they'll be good enough to overcome them.
"We'll have growing pains because we have some youth. But I think with that becomes — there's a lot of excitement there. Because as we grow and mature, this could be a really dangerous team down the stretch this year," said Garcin-Forba.
The Bruins will open their season at home against Bozeman Gallatin at 7 p.m. on Friday.