All three Missoula class ‘AA’ basketball teams (boys and girls) will kick off their seasons Friday in Billings. The Hellgate girls squad is hopeful for a better year on the hardwoods this winter.
The Knights managed to win only one game all of last season and didn't get any victories in western conference play. But the team returns a lot of experience to this year's squad as Hellgate lost just one senior to graduation from last year.
Leading the way this season will be brand new head coach Gary McLaughlin who spent the past 15 seasons as an assistant under Marti Leibenguth at Missoula Big Sky.
"You know everything is new this year Vince and I think the kids are buying into our system and we're trying to get in a little better shape than maybe they were last year. Just everything is new, and I think they're smart kids and they're buying into our system and they're doing a great job so far."
"He is so excited to coach us,” says junior forward Lexi Duce about McLaughlin. “It's just so nice to have someone that is ready to go, he's into every practice 100% and you know he cares about this team.”
The team is hopeful that with new leadership and several returning varsity players, this program can head in a more successful direction starting this winter.
"I love it. I mean I love these girls, I love the game, I love the new coach,” says sophomore guard Darby Henthorn. “We're all excited, we're all ready to go, ready to change our program."
The Hellgate girls kick off their season Friday night on the road against Billings Skyview.