For the first time in four years the Great Falls High boys basketball team will be without its biggest contributor Brendan Howard. The Now Eastern Washington University Eagle is the two time reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and someone the Bison will have to move on from.
"We're losing 25 (points) and 10 (rebounds) every game but everyone is stepping in and get that rebound that Brendan would've got, and we'll make that shot that Brendan would've shot, and everyone is embracing that role," said junior guard Blake Thelen.
The Bison won't be able to replace Howard's 25 points per game with one player. When it comes to scoring, the team knows they'll have to come together and play with a collective effort for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.
"We're pretty balanced, we have a lot of guys who can do multiple different things. Hopefully we'll be able to fill the gaps, guys will get more shots this year, and hopefully we'll put the ball in the basket."
The players also say they'll be able to make up for Howard's rebounding average of ten per game. For that, the Bison will rely on its two bigs Kyle Winkler and Kevin Boes.
"That's definitely something I'm really going to go after as my role. Get on the glass and bring down some boards. Kevin and I are really going to work hard to really establish that."
Great Falls High will need to compete in a tough eastern conference, but the group says they like where they're at, and that winning a state title isn't completely out of the question.
"Everybody has to be on the same page. We have to have really good chemistry on the floor. Everyone has to do their jobs and complete their role and we'll be fine," added Winkler.