The Hamilton Lady Bronc basketball team is wrapping up their regular season play with a focus of competing well and earning a first or second seed ride to divisional playoffs.
Coach Richard Griffin coached last year at Darby and started at Hamilton just three or four weeks before the season started.
“I love it they are awesome and a great bunch of girls,” Griffin said. “It has been really special for me coming in pretty late. Getting to know the girls, getting them to know me and the style we’re trying to play has been great. They came in with open minds which has been fun.”
Griffin said with a new coach and new players the focus has been on building a team. The seniors and juniors have been playing together for a while and the sophomores and freshmen have been playing together for a while but all of them playing together is new.
“Now I’m bringing them together, Griffin said. “We’re trying to bring together our chemistry, our attitudes and our efforts.”
It is working and the team’s strength is in relying on each other. In the varsity program, he has built a solid rotation of 10 players with different combinations of five that can play together at any one time. He had to get to know each player and their skills, then the players had to learn to trust their teammates.
The Lady Broncs are healthy, strong and currently mostly injury free.
“Abby Johnson had surgery early on in the season but is playing well and has no issues,” Griffin said. “Nobody is banged up too bad. We’re in a good spot right now and everyone just has to stay healthy.”
He gave a shout out to the seniors for taking the challenge of leading a new group with a new coach.
“It’s been fun to watch them do that,” Griffin said. “They all have been playing good. I can’t specifically name one person over the rest of the team because we are building a team concept.”
Griffin said he has been really impressed with the Bronc defense.
“Each night someone has risen to the occasion,” he said. “A couple weeks ago Maggie Ringer had like 10 rebounds and she and Katelyn (Dickemore) really stopped the inside game against Corvallis. They play hard every night.”
He also credited Taryn Searle for her hard playing against Butte Central.
“Taryn had some great on-ball pressure to the guard and she played hard on both sides of the court,” Griffin said. “She played defense relentlessly and she was playing offence aggressively, it was really fun to see.”
Griffin said the team concept has caught on and the Lady Bronc team is playing well.
“They are all doing so many good things, I can pick something out that each one of them has really excelled at,” he said.
Griffin has been coaching for 15 years and said it is hard to believe the regular season is almost over. The last Lady Bronc home game is against Dillon for Senior Night on Saturday, Feb. 15. The freshman tip off at 1 p.m., the JV game is set for 2:30 p.m. and the varsity game begins at 4 p.m. on the Dale Barry Court.
“One of our goals is to get in the top one or two seed in the conference to stay away from the playing game to go to divisionals,” Griffin said. “They aren’t running a district tournament this year, the top two automatically go to divisionals.”
Teams seeded three, four, five and six have a playing game where three plays six and four plays five and the winners advance to divisional play.
“Our goal is to compete really well and put ourselves in the positive positions for tournaments,” Girffin said.
This year, the boys and girls divisional tournaments are Feb.27-29, in Ronan, and then the boys and girls state A tournaments are March 12-14 in Billings.
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