Bison Update: October 4, 2023

The air is electric at the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center, the home court for Salish Kootenai College’s Bison basketball teams. The energy is palpable, even during practice. It’s clear from the onset: the Bison are ready for the new season.

After last season’s impressive run, both the men’s and women’s teams have been putting in serious work over the summer. The blend of seasoned players, new recruits, and dedicated coaching staff has the Bison fanbase eagerly awaiting the tip-off of the 2023-2024 season.

Men’s Team: The Quest for Redemption

The men’s team, under the leadership of Coach Howard Little Elk, is fiercely determined to clinch a title this year. Their journey last season, which saw them reaching the semi-finals, ended just shy of victory. But it’s evident that the setback has done nothing to dampen their spirits.

“Last year was a learning curve,” Little Elk said. “We identified our strengths, worked on our weaknesses, and have implemented strategies to ensure a stronger game.”

One of the standout players to watch is senior point guard, Jake Two Bears. A local from the Flathead Reservation, he’s been perfecting his craft since childhood and has evolved into one of the most consistent scorers on the team.

“It’s my last year here,” Two Bears commented. “I want to leave a legacy and be part of the Bison team that brought the championship home.”

Women’s Team: Rising Stars on the Horizon

The women’s side, led by Coach Angela Running Wolf, shows similar promise. Their prowess on the court last year left spectators in awe, and this season, expectations are high.

Running Wolf, who has consistently championed the development of young talent, spoke of the new recruits with pride. “We’ve got some of the best young talent from Montana and beyond. Their hunger, combined with the experience of our seniors, has created a powerhouse team.”

One newcomer, freshman guard Mia Standing Rock from North Dakota, has already impressed during the pre-season games. Her agility, court awareness, and ability to sync with her teammates have many believing she’s a star in the making.

Preparations and Strategy

The preparation for the 2023-2024 season is a mix of rigorous physical training, strategy sessions, and building team camaraderie. Both teams have been undergoing intensive training regimens to improve stamina, agility, and coordination. Off the court, film sessions have become routine, with players dissecting their gameplay and that of their opponents.

But it’s not all about the grind. The Bison believe in balance. Team-building outings, community engagement events, and mentorship programs have been integral in forging bonds between players.

“It’s important that we’re not just teammates but family,” expressed Leah Bright Eagle, a senior forward for the women’s team. “The trust we have in each other off the court translates to better coordination and understanding during games.”

Community Support

The Bison’s journey is not a solo endeavor. The community of Pablo and the larger Flathead Reservation has been rallying behind them. Local businesses have been offering sponsorships, fans have been buying season passes in record numbers, and school children are seen sporting Bison jerseys, signaling a new wave of young basketball enthusiasts.

“It’s not just about basketball,” said community elder, Grace White Horse. “It’s about representation, pride, and showing our youth that with hard work and dedication, dreams can be realized.”

Looking Ahead

With only a few weeks left before the season kicks off, anticipation is at its peak. Both Bison teams are seen as serious contenders this year.

While the journey ahead is bound to have its challenges, one thing is certain: the Bison are prepared, focused, and have the unwavering support of their community.

Pablo awaits with bated breath, ready to cheer on their beloved teams. The Bison are not just playing for a title; they’re playing for pride, legacy, and the heart of their community.

The 2023-2024 season promises to be unforgettable. And if the energy in the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center is any indication, the Bison are ready to make history.