Deep, athletic Lady Vikes ready to set sail
The Charlo coach will have plenty of options to go to as the Lady Vikings prepare for the upcoming season.
Twenty-five girls came out for basketball this year, the most ever in Bret Thompson’s 25-year tenure as the coach.
“This is the largest group that we have had since I have been in Charlo. With 11 freshmen, the future for Charlo looks good,” Said Thompson, adding that with so many young players they are trying to find C-squad games.
Kinley Pope and Dawn Blevins both started on last year’s 19-6 team, which finished just one game short of the state tournament. Thompson, who is 421-156 at Charlo, said both juniors are versatile players and can play the perimeter and post.
Deondra Brown, a junior guard, Jessica Foust, a senior guard and Rachel Hoyt, a sophomore post player, all saw significant playing time last season and will have to take on a larger role this season.
Senior Royelle Esterby and Derika Stipe will also have to step up to help fill the void left by three departing starters, Jaris Kelley, Stephanie Maughan and Courtney Couture.
Thompson said that his team is very athletic and fast, and this should help them with their aggressive man-to-man, something Charlo has become known for in Thompson’s 25 years at the school. While Thompson expects the team defense to be strong at the start of the season, he said that the offense will be a work in progress.
“With the lost of three seniors, we have a lot of shoes to fill. We will rely on good man defense for the year and hope to find some offense by the end of the season,” Thompson said. “We will put good athletes on the floor, and we are hoping that with hard work at practice it will give us a chance to find success this season.”
Thompson anticipates that Hot Springs and Arlee along with Charlo will be the top contenders in the district. He has scheduled games with tough Class B schools: Mission, Thompson Falls, Plains and Superior to get his team ready to play the Savage Heat and Scarlets at the district tournament.
“These teams will definitely test our young squad, and I hope it will be the difference in making us better by tournament time,” Thompson said.
The Lady Vikings start the season hosting Superior Friday and then travel to Alberton Saturday.
“It is a good bunch of young ladies who are not afraid of hard work. They compete and push each other at practice to make themselves better,” Thompson said.
“They have high expectation for their team. It is always exciting to start off the season to see what another year will bring to Charlo.”