In this blog I haven’t gotten around to giving credit to the Belt Huskies. The Huskies won the 8C District Basketball Tournament in Lewistown last Saturday night against Denton-Geyser-Stanford.
I hadn’t seen Belt play until I arrived in Lewistown last weekend and could finally set my eyes on what I had been missing.
The Huskies are fast, they can shoot, and they play great defense. Pretty much the exact opposite of what I looked like playing basketball.
Led by seniors Parker McCafferty, Paxton Maki, and Tristan Cummings the Huskies rolled through 8C Conference play with a perfect record. It’s impressive to go undefeated in any conference but even more kudos need to go to Coach Paulson’s squad for staying untarnished in the 8C. With teams like Highwood and DGS ready to give you their best punch every night it’s very impressive.
Coach Kyle Paulson’s Belt Huskies have a list of core values for their basketball team that includes improving daily and hating to lose. You can really tell that these Huskies are playing their best basketball during tournament time because they have been improving all season long. The Huskies must also hate to lose because they haven’t done it this season.
It was sure nice to visit with much of the Belt faithful during my time in Lewistown last weekend. The people of Belt love their basketball and they love to talk their basketball.
One of the neat things about playing Class C basketball is being able to talk basketball with my Dad who coached in class C schools all around the state and my older brother who played in Centerville when my Father coached out there.
It’s a clear consensus that Belt has always been one of those teams in Northcentral Montana that you always looked forward to playing because they were such a talent.
My brother Bill was regaling me with the story of when the Centerville Miners played against the Belt Huskies in Belt. The game was the final matchup of the regular season and the last matchup in the Old Belt Gym. We’ve got that game on a VHS tape up in Great Falls and I can’t wait to watch it. The Huskies had talented players like Ike Jessee, Josh Larson and Jake Larson and were always a favorite for a trip to the Northern C Divisionals. As my brother tells it, the Old Belt Gym was at full capacity. With standing room only on the baselines, and players would rub shoulders with the fans that were standing up against the wall.
Bill always smiles as he tells the next part of the story when during an offensive set he caught the basketball near the elbow. He caught it, he shot it, and started to backpedal (because and I quote, “I had no doubt it was going in”). Well the bucket went in, and the referee looked at where my brother was as he backpedaled not where he shot it from and signaled a three. But hey it was Belt-Centerville he wasn’t going to correct the official that’s for sure.
My times playing against Belt for Great Falls Central were always more than enjoyable. They were the games you looked forward on your schedule. Heck I even circled them with a red pen. They were the ones you wanted to win.
I remember battling in the post with Corbin Keaster and Chance Muretta. I didn’t win many of those battles by the way. With Rick Goodman roaming the sidelines for the Huskies you had to be sure you didn’t run too close when Rick was giving his team an earful because you might have your ears ringing yourself. I know that I always looked forward to playing in Belt because of the atmosphere that would get a rocking and a rolling.
Anyway that’s enough reminiscing.
The Belt Huskies this season seem as tough as ever. I’d been hearing how tough the team from Belt might be this year even though they lost sharpshooter Holden Maki off of last year’s squad.
I didn’t realize they would be this good.
Junior Koltin Haugrose is a fantastic sharpshooter for the Huskies who can also finish at the rim. Parker McCafferty is an impressive guard who likes to create turnovers and push in transition and on the inside Paxton Maki just battles. Maki did a great job of working hard in the paint against DGS’s six-foot-seven Kash Perry.
Coach Paulson’s crew plays basketball the right way. It starts with defense, where the Huskies don’t go flying by shooters; they chop their feet and close out the right way. I happen to believe the Belt Huskies might be the toughest defensive team in the State.
So as the Huskies take the floor early Thursday morning against the winner of the Chinook vs. Power play in game make sure you get to the gym nice and early because the Belt faithful will be there getting the good seats.
The Huskies feel good about their prospects of going to the State C Boys Basketball Tournament in Billings two weeks from now and after watching them play I do too.
So it might not “be in the water” for the Belt Boys basketball team but there is sure something special about the way they play.