Let’s flash back to the 2018 Class AA State Title game back in March.
Hailey Sutton / SWX
“We had a group of kids with with some character and a culture here at our school where they kind of understood okay, we gotta change the way we’re playing and it worked out well for us,” Rustlers head coach John Cislo said of last year’s team.
Last season, the CMR Rustlers boys basketball team completed their Cinderella story, winning the Class AA State Championship over Bozeman 81-69. However the Green and Gold weren’t always the Dream Team.
“That was a group of kids that had a lot of adversity. We went three years without getting to a State Tournament, so we were in danger of having a senior class that never saw a State Tournament. First game of the year we played Flathead High, got beat by 16 but it felt like 32. Then we played the Bison and got hammered by 32,” Cislo said.
But the team caught fire right when it mattered most, and now they’re the reigning State Champs heading into the 2018 season. But senior Bryce Depping says the shiny new trophy is pushing the team to be even better than last year.
“We can’t be taking practices off. We gotta go hard every single day,” Depping said. “I think we’re looking actually pretty good. The ball’s actually moving pretty good, we’re actually kinda gelling better than we did last year a the beginning of the year I think, so that’s pretty good.”
The guys began practice last week, and with just a few weeks before their opening game on December 7, fellow senior Caleb Currington said they have a bit of target on their back heading in to the season.
“We know that people are gonna try to come after us, like Great Falls High and all them. Just gotta work hard every day and it’ll show on the court,” Currington said.
Cislo says this year’s goal is simple: follow the standards of CMR basketball and they should be successful.
“If we stick to those standards, and are good people on and off the court, and understand why we’re here, I think we have an opportunity to do some pretty special things again,” he said.
“Just go conference game by conference game like last year, not look too far into the season and just work one game at a time,” Depping added.
Game one for the Rustlers will take place on December 7th. The team will travel to Glacier.
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