Lady Red Devils focused on performing well at state tourney
By Eric Killelea
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The girls basketball team at Dawson County High School overcame a rocky road this year to beat teams from its conference and earn a seat at the Class A State Championship tournament for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. It is also the first time head coach Kayla Rivas will take a team to State.
DCHS (ranked fourth in the East) is scheduled to play Butte Central (first West) at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Montana ExpoPark Pacific Steel & Recycling Four Seasons Area in Great Falls. The winner competes against either Hardin (second East) or Columbia Falls (third West). Other games include Havre (first East) vs. Hamilton (fourth West) and Browning (second West) vs. Belgrade (third East).
Gearing up for the opening round of the State tournament, Rivas has the Lady Red Devils focusing on “what we run and being the best we can be offensively and defensively.”
In email, Rivas added: “Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging towards them and their accomplishments thus far. However, these girls are not content with just making the tournament. Their goal is once again to play Saturday night at the State tournament. We will continue to take it one day at a time and are spending the majority of our time focusing on Butte Central and their tendencies!”
As DCHS junior Kendra Kaufman predicts, playing on Saturday night is a definite possibility.
“Practice this last week has been focused mostly on shooting and fundamentals, which I think is really going to help us throughout the weekend,” she said.
Still, a focused Kaufman and her teammates cannot help but be surprised with how their season continues to unfold.
“I don’t think it’s really set in for anybody that we’re going to State and I don’t think it will set in until we’ve actually there,” she said. “I’m so excited and blessed to have this opportunity with some of the best teammates that I could ask for.”
For junior Thea Robson, her team’s aim has always been to simply, work hard.
“One major goal of ours was to make it to State and we have so it’s really huge for us,” she said. “Watching us grow as a team and check things off our list is just a relieving feeling.”
Robson believes that her fellow players are “strong and fast” enough to take on any opponent in the State tournament. “My teammates and coaches are truly wonderful and I no doubt wouldn’t want anyone else by my side this weekend,” she said. “I’m excited to see what this weekend has in store for us.”
Several of the DCHS girls had the chance to compete at the state level during the recent volleyball season and now they have the opportunity to play with the basketball team.
Rivas saw that as a sign that “winning breeds winning” and that the current group of players are rebuilding female athletics at the high school in Glendive.
Two weeks ago, the Lady Red Devils played six games at the Eastern A Divisional tournament and beat Billings Central to qualify for the State tournament.
Reach Eric Killelea at email@example.com.