Kats should be solid again this year

Editor | December 16, 2020 12:40 AM

The Columbia Falls girls basketball team has plenty of depth this year as it looks to make a run to the state tournament.

The Wildkats had a solid season last year, but fell short of a state berth in the divisional tournament after a stellar regular season. They ended up 16-4.

While they lose all-stater Josie Windauer to graduation, this year they have four senior starters in LaKia Hill, Hannah Schweikert, Madysen Hoerner and Lauren Falkner.

Junior Maddy Robison rounds out the starting roster.

Coach Cary Finberg likes this team’s depth, with reserves like guard Alexis Green, and transfers Clarissa Erb from Flathead and Nevaeh Carlin a sophomore from Bigfork.

The freshmen also had a great offseason, with 10 players consistently playing in open gyms and summer ball.

With coronavirus concerns, Finberg noted that they’ll need the depth, as they could be looking at different lineups as players go in and out of quarantine, just like athletes did with fall sports.

“We have to be ready for unexpected,” Finberg said. Ten games in, they could very well see seven, eight different lineups.

But make no mistake, this team has a lot of talent.

“We have an opportunity to be a very good team,” Finberg said.

Finberg knows success. He was the head coach of the boys’ team for 19 years with 13 state tourney appearances, five championships, two second-place finishes and four third-place finishes, amassing a 298-138 record.

He’s coached the girls for nine years now, with seven state appearances, one state championship, one second and four third-place finishes with a 180-35 record.

Overall, he’s 478-173.

The season is scheduled to open Jan. 2 on the road against Corvallis. Right now at least, both the divisional and state tournaments are scheduled for Butte.

In the conference, the top team to beat is Browning, again, though Whitefish is also improved, Finberg noted.

Finberg is assisted by his daughter Ciera, who is the JV coach and an English teacher at the high school, and Zach Levitt, who will coach the freshmen team.