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Vikings reach new heights this season

By Shane Gillette, News and Sports Reporter, sgillette@keci.com
Published On: Mar 11 2014 06:39:50 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

It's been a year of firsts for the Bigfork Vikings basketball squad. They have the chance to reach milestones that no other Bigfork basketball program has accomplished.

An undefeated mark of 23-0 and a number one ranking in the state are great accomplishments for any basketball program, but for Bigfork it's unknown territory.

"It would mean a lot, I mean first one ever with a coach that played here would be pretty special," said junior guard Josh Sandry.

"We are always trying to win state and get that first banner up but I believe this can be the year we can do that," said senior Christian Evans.

"I really want this for these kids and for this school and for this town," explained head coach Josh Downey.

The Vikings are three wins away from both their first ever undefeated season as well the program’s first ever state title. Bigfork's outstanding performance this season has made them the state tournament favorite and has all eyes looking their way.

"I know a lot of coaches don't necessarily like that, they like to be the huntee but I kind of like being the hunter and so far these kids have embraced that," explained Downey.

First year head coach Josh Downey has seen the hard work day in and day out. At a recent practice session the team held a conditioning drill where the first player to cross the base-line was done for the day. However Sandry didn't stop sprinting until each of his teammates had also finished the drill.

"And I told him afterwards, I was like that is a true testament to your character," said Downey.  "That's why my teams never won it and that's why you're going to.  So that's one of the things that separates these kids from everyone else I think is just that attitude."

Bigfork has dominated their competition this season including a pair of wins against the class ‘A’ state champion Columbia Falls Wildcats.

"It gives us good confidence that we can play with anybody in the state," said Evans.

This team has had big goals all season and they know this week it all comes down to playing their brand of basketball.

"I only wear this with pride, I mean we have so many fans come out and watch us and support us and that is a big part of our success," said Sandry.

"Dedication, hard work, and playing hard honestly," added Evans.

The Bigfork Vikings play Joliet in first round state tournament action on Thursday.