Killdeer girls basketball may not have had the most successful year last season, but the team showed a lot of potential and growth. The team hopes to continue to build that in the upcoming season.
The Cowboys finished the '19-20 season with an overall record of 4-19 and 3-12 in the region. Despite the bumpy road, head coach Chad Dahlen, going into his second year as head coach, believes the amount of hard work his players have put in during the summer and fall leading into the season has begun to show itself.
"Over the summer I think this team has really raised their basketball up quite a few levels from previous years," he said. "They all have done a good job of reading and reacting with each other. That’s one of the big standards on my part is how well they’ve grown as a team and how well everyone has been able to carry themselves on the court."
Killdeer will be coming into the season without its four key seniors from last season in Tyra Dahlen, Shyanne Devorson, Chelsey Morlock and Madison Wilhelm, but Dahlen believes the current seniors, Kelly Bang and Myranda Reiss, will be ready to lead the Cowboys to new heights this season.
"They just kind of put the team on their back as far as leadership goes," Dahlen said.
The team will also be looking to Liza Stahl to be a strong post player, along with Shelbie Schmidt and sophomore Gracie Doe to be a strong figure at the point guard position.
"(Doe has) been a beast, just working twice as hard as any of the other girls on the team," Dahlen said. "She just loves the game."
The team started this season out with a strong win against Stanley High with a 52-46 score, but has fallen in its two games after — the first loss to Heart River 44-34, the second to Hettinger-Scranton 61-20.
Still, Dahlen believes the cold season last year has fired up the players to play as best they can this season to avoid taking as many losses as possible.
"These girls just got tired of losing, so they just decided to put in some work over the offseason and just went after it. We didn’t do a lot of summer camps or anything, just stuck to a lot of weights and a lot of individual skill work over the summer and the girls put in the time, worked with the various coaches, and it's just amazing to see all that hard work is really paying off so far," he said.
As far as strengths go, Dahlen said this team has a never-say-quit mentality and will battle until the very end — no matter the circumstances.
"They’re not afraid to battle all the time with each other, and that’s the one thing that I really like, is their competitiveness and relentlessness, and that’s something I’ve been waiting to see, and it’s just nice to see that coming out where they just don’t want to quit," he said. "They want to keep on playing, and even if they’re down by 20 or 15 they’re going to keep fighting back. It doesn’t matter which team it is."
Despite falling to a 1-2 record, Dahlen mentioned any game being played this season is already a win due to the pandemic and the uncertainty that remains for the entire season.
"I told them we might only be able to play one game this season — it might get taken away — so just approach every game with that gratitude, and whenever you get another game in that’s just one more that we’re going to be able to enjoy throughout the season."
The Cowboys are projected to play again on Dec. 21 on the road against Washburn High.