By Rob Everingham
At this point last year, the Chester Coyotes girls basketball team was still unbeaten heading into the District 10-C tournament. Well, not this year.
The Coyotes have one blemish on their record, a 76-68 loss to non-conference Belt, but, head coach Linda VanDyke said, the loss has been good in many ways for her team.
Weve had to focus more, and know we have to work hard, VanDyke said.
VanDyke also said it is better to have lost in the regular season than in the playoffs.
After a good week of practice, VanDyke said, her team is ready for the playoffs. She said they have been concentrating on the little things and will not look past any opponents.
Chester, the No. 1 seed, will have a first-round bye in the tournament that begins today at Shelby, and will face the winner of the Heart Butte-Brady game Thursday.
The Coyotes have had some injuries this season with key sophomore Jamie Graham out during the past few weeks with a broken bone. Van Dyke said Graham was scheduled to get the cast off today, and, hopefully, will be ready for this weekends tournament. Carlene Jensen was also out a portion of the season, but, Van Dyke said, she is back and ready to go.
Chester finished third at the state Class C state tournament last season. VanDyke said she thinks that experience was great. Graham and Michelle VanDyke both played in the state tournament as freshman and, VanDyke said, the year of maturity should help her players.
Anytime you get to experience that, you will be better the next year, VanDyke said.
The J-I Rams will also be at the 10-C tournament this weekend.
J-I will face Sunburst in the second game of the tournament Wednesday evening.
Rams head coach Bruce Beaudry said it has been a tough year with a shortage of players to start, and then they faced some injuries. Beaudry said they have had to make adjustments.
With just one win and against a team that has beaten you three times, you have to make adjustments, Beaudry said.
Beaudry said his athletes spirits are up and they are planning on winning their next game.
The Rams have been a team plagued by adversity but, Beaudry said, they have been a super group to work with and they are still smiling and having fun playing basketball.
Theyre going out and giving it their best, Beaudry said.