The Box Elder Bears traveled to Butte Wednesday to participate in the state finals. The last time they made it this far in the season was in 1990, which is also the last time they won the state championship.
Box Elder Head Coach Jeremy MacDonald said the team was ready to do their best in the final games of the season.
"The boys are pretty excited," MacDonald said. "And they're relaxed at the same time."
Box Elder Superintendent Darin Hannum said he likes the Bears' chances.
"We feel pretty positive about our chances to do well," Hannum said. "The things they have been most successful with is their character. They work hard and they keep upbeat. ... They're going to this with a lot of respect, just like they've had a lot of respect this entire season."
Hannum said the final scores of the games Box Elder boys basketball team has played do not do their opponents justice.
"Our record, on average, of points don't represent the quality of the teams," Hannum said. "I think most of those programs respect us."
Hannum said the coaches have done a great job in helping the kids make their way to victory.
"(MacDonald) is a very well-grounded person and a great role model," Hannum said.
Box Elder School was closed Thursday and today because of the importance of the event to the community.
"I would be willing to bet with Box Elder and Rocky Boy going, this area is going to be pretty empty," Hannum said.
"I think our team is playing their best basketball right now," MacDonald said. "We have as good a shot as anybody to win three games down here. Our boys have been working hard."
MacDonald said the atmosphere was good overall Wednesday after the Box Elder boys basketball team was sent off on the trip by a schoolwide assembly at Box Elder.
At the assembly, the basketball players were given an NBA-style introduction in front of the Box Elder School student body and faculty.
The boys and students played games after MacDonald gave a short speech and thanked everyone for supporting the team.
MacDonald said Wednesday that he thought there would be many supporters following them to Great Falls and the size of their cheering section could grow past 1,000 people if the team makes it to Saturday.
"Friday night, we should have a pretty solid crowd," MacDonald said. He added that the crowd will likely comprise not only Box Elder residents, but people from all around the area and several reservations. A couple players on the team have relatives from the Crow tribe and will draw many supporters from their reservation.
The boys' first game was against Drummond High School Thursday with the Bears winning 86-60.
The boys play Fairview High School at 6:30 p.m. today. If they win that game, they move on to their final game Saturday against the winner of tonight's Superior and Westby-Grenora matchup.
The Box Elder High School fight song
(Sung to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song)
Cheer! Cheer! For Box Elder High!
Raise up your voices, raise them up high!
Watch those bears go down the floor,
Havre Daily News
We've got the ball,
so now let's raise the score!
(Name of Opponents) you bow to us,
This is our school song,
now watch our dust!
Cheer, cheer, cheer
for Box Elder High!
We'll rise up to victory...