By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Chinook Sugarbeeters have a new look at the reins of the boys' basketball program this winter.
Glenn Smith, veteran coach, has taken over as the head coach.
"The kids are hard-working kids," Smith said. "I think they are willing to do what I ask them to do, and that is really important."
Chinook, who finished 6-14 last season, were knocked early from the District 2-B tournament last February.
Quickness and four returning starters might be strengths for the Sugarbeeters this season.
"I hope to be able to push the ball down the floor fairly quickly and put some on defensive pressure in a zone and man-to-man full-court pressure," Smith said.
Seniors Kallid Jaha, Mason Roseberry, Adam Gibson, and Justin Friede are returning starters from last year's team.
The 'Beeters open the season at home with conference play Friday against the Wolf Point Wolves.
"I think it is going to be good for us to open at home," Smith said. "It gives me an opportunity to look at my team and evaluate them without traveling somewhere. It is really going to give us an idea of where we fit in."
After the Wolves, the Sugarbeeters will face the District 1-B Cut Bank Wolves at home in non-conference action Saturday. Cut Bank went to the State B tournament last season.
The 'Beeters will play the Central A Havre Blue Ponies in non-league action Thursday, Dec. 16.
"When we get done with these three teams, it will give us an idea of where we stack up," Smith said.
Malta, Wolf Point and Glasgow look to be tough in the district this season.
But, the Sugarbeeters have their goals mapped.
"Our No. 1 goal is to push the ball up the floor a little quicker than they did last season," Smith said. "No. 2 is to play tougher defense. I think these kids can play a lot better defense than they did last year. We also need to be able to win those game played down to the end of the wire. When it's tight, we need to hold on to the end. If those kids can do those things, we will be really competitive in this league."
Other seniors on the team include Troy Omsberg, Tyler Oehmcke, and Lucas Paugh. Tim Dennis, Adam Zinn, James Steyee, Scott Fritz, and Cody Beck, all juniors, round out the roster.