HELENA — As the Helena High girls basketball team gets set for its Friday night home opener against the Bozeman Hawks, they've had to cram a lot into this preseason with a nearly all-new roster. However, despite it being a short amount of time, they feel like it's been extremely productive.
“I definitely had worries at the beginning, having literally 10 days until our first game, because usually we have a bit longer to get uniforms, to get pictures, but that all had to be scrunched in the first week," said Helena High junior Alex Bullock. "Then we had these four days to really cement everything so I mean, we have an amazing group so far."
"I think [the practices have] been really focused. We've been on top of our game and we've been really trying to focus on memorizing the plays for this Friday since it's such a short time," said Helena High sophomore Avery Kraft. "We've been really bonding well together and playing well together”
The Bengals hovered right around the .500 mark for head coach Ben Dudek's first year at the helm, and as they move into Dudek's second year, he believes last year’s efforts are a great thing to build off of ahead of Friday.
"We were very competitive last year in most, if not all of our games after Hellgate, and that's really what the goal was to be competitive throughout the season. So moving into the second year, it's that same goal, it's be as competitive as we can possibly be and be our best selves every day" said Dudek.
The Bengals are excited for the return of inter-conference play between the Eastern and Western AA, which didn't happen during the regular season last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think just being in the gym together, and definitely like nonconference games, we haven't seen some teams from the East for a while. So that'll just be fun to experience that," said Helena High junior Kim Feller.
The Bengals and the Hawks will square off on Friday night at Helena High at 7 p.m.