By Rob Everingham
CHINOOK -- It's been quite a while since the Chinook Sugarbeeters girls' basketball team has been at a state tournament, but all that changes this weekend, as the 'Beeters head to Belgrade for the Class B State tournament.
Chinook finished fourth at he District 2-B tournament, and edged into the divisional tournament where it finished third to just edge its way into the state tournament.
'Beeters head coach Bill Keller said the team has handled the pressure very well. Keller said last week the team was a little sluggish and was still on a high from divisional.
This week, though, the Sugarbeeters put together two good practices that refocused the team.
Keller said that his players have set goals for themselves, and they will go to the state tourney and do what they can to accomplish those goals.
"They are going to have to be mentally prepared," Keller said.
Keller said the community of Chinook has been great. He said they have shown tons of support and, he said, everyone in the area is on a high with them just going to state.
As far as the game plan against Frenchtown, Keller said, Frenchtown has some big inside players and a great point guard.
After investigating the team, Keller said, they do not handle pressure well. He said the 'Beeters have put some new wrinkles in their offense and defense to try and pressure the ball and push the ball inside and get some easy baskets.
The 'Beeters play the final game Thursday at 8 p.m. at Belgrade High School. Keller said he is happy for the later time. He said it gives them a chance to go down and prepare and watch some of the other teams. Keller said he hopes this will help get some of the jitters out of his team. This is the first year any of his players have been at state.
Both Friday semifinal games from Belgrade and the Class B tournament will be televised by Montana Power Friday. If Chinook should down Frenchtown, they would be playing Friday.
Keller also said he would like to thank First Security Bank for all its support in allowing him the time and effort to coach in Chinook.