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Jeremy Grilley new head girls basketball coach

| June 5, 2024 7:20 AM

By CHRIS PETERSON

Hungry Horse News

The Columbia Falls girls basketball team will have a new coach in Jeremy Grilley this fall. Grilley, 40, is no stranger to Columbia Falls basketball.

Grilley was a key player on the 2003 state A championship basketball team  along with his twin brother, Jesse for the Wildcats. Later, he was an assistant under coach Cary Finberg in Finberg’s last year as the boys head coach in 2015. He also was an assistant under current boys coach Chris Finberg during Finberg’s first year. Grilley’s also  coached eighth grade boys and girls teams for the past nine seasons.

“I’m really excited,” he said during a recent interview.

He said he’ll institute a lot of Finberg coaching style into his own game.

“(Cary) was always preaching a highly aggressive defense with a run-and-gun offense,” he said. The defense leads to a lot of scoring in transition he noted.

The returning players to this year’s squad are dialed in — he said he’s had about 15 players at every open gym this spring. They’ve been playing with women’s league ballers which adds to the intensity.

Grilley likes the group of returning starters, like Emalee Alton, Taryn Borgen, Kierra Kemppainen, Alanis Petersen, Onnikka Lawrence and Riley Sweeney to name a few.

He said the team is very athletic and has a lot of potential.

“I honestly believe we have a chance to place at state the next couple of seasons,” he said.

He said it’s important to maintain the Columbia Falls coaching and playing legacy.

“We’re a family-oriented community, blue-collar and we work hard,” he said.

Grilley is assisted by TJ Middlesworth, who will coach the junior varsity team and Dulcie Berube, who will coach the freshmen.

Grilley said he’s also working on bringing back the 3-on-3 basketball tournament to Heritage Days, holding it at the outdoor courts at the junior high.

The first formal girls practices start in mid-November.