Butte Central’s girls’ basketball team will be full of young players and lacking in varsity experience.
Don’t call this season a rebuilding season, however. Coach Meg Murphy’s Maroons enter the 2013-14 season expecting to finish in the same place they finished the last four — the state tournament.
“I have those expectations,” said Murphy, whose team lost seven seniors from last year. “I don’t want to lower them. The state tournament is our goal.”
While the first names have changed, many of the last names on the BC roster have not. Murphy’s team has winning in its blood.
“The sisters are coming up,” Murphy said.
Those sisters will be tested right away as the Maroons open the season against some fierce competition at BC’s annual Tip-Off Tournament.
The Maroons will play Billings Central at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the Maroons Activities Center. On Saturday, the Maroons play Laurel at 4:15 p.m. at the Civic Center.
To say that schedule is a challenging one is a major understatement. Laurel edged Billings Central in the Class A state championship game at the Civic Center in March.
Livingston, Hardin, Missoula Loyola, Browning and Salmon, Idaho will also compete in the tournament.
The tournament field includes Browning, which beat Butte Central twice at state last year. That includes the third-place game. Also in town for the tournament are Livingston, Hardin, Missoula Loyola and Salmon, Idaho.
The Maroons have four seniors on the roster.
Chandra McCurdy and Teresa Piazzola bring extensive varsity experience to the table for the Maroons.
Murphy said Paffhausen has “stepped up” her game this season. She called McCurdy a leader.
“She took the younger kids under her wings,” Murphy said of McCurdy.
Murphy is also expecting contributions from Butte High transfer Rylee Green. Senior Courtney Thomas is expected to be a role player for the Maroons.
The rest of the BC roster is made up of sophomores and freshmen.
Murphy is excited about the potential of sophomores Teresa Piazzola, Sierra Pica, Lacey McGree, Kate Ossello, Aiden Dennehy, McKenzie Gallagher, Ryan Trudnowski and Shawnee Hjelt.
The Maroons are also counting on freshmen Mollie Peoples, Taylor Wahl and Emily St. John.
“They work hard,” Murphy said. “My younger kids are gym rats. It didn’t take much to get them into the gym.”
Throughout the early part of the season, the Maroons will focus on defense.
“Defense will be a key,” Murphy said. “If we can play defense and rebound the ball, we’ve got a chance to win some games.”
On the offensive end, Murphy said she isn’t sure who will be the top scorers. She just knows that she has several players who have that potential.
“We may not have one player to go to, but I think we can compete,” Murphy said. “We want to finish in the middle of the pack, get to the divisional tournament and go like heck.”
After the brutal schedule at the Tip-Off Tournament, the Maroons play at home against Anaconda and at Stevensville next week to close out the pre-Christmas part of the schedule.