Despite the Lady Trojans elimination from the Divisional Tournament, basketball coach Justin Young, who was recently selected to coach a girls all-star team, is proud of his team.
As the District Tournament Champions, the Lady Trojans had a promising start at the Divisional Tournament, winning 67-47 over Loyola the first day.
On Friday, however, the Lady Trojans were edged by Florence 39-33.
Against Deer Lodge, the team fell even further after a tough second half, losing 42-27 and being eliminated from Divisionals.
Young just wants to make sure the credit for a successful season is shared equally between all involved in the wins.
Young has been selected to coach the Western B girls all star team at the Treasure State Classic in Billings in mid March, an honor he is quick to shrug off. “I’m a pretty laid back guy, so it’s really just letting the girls show off what they can do.”
After watching the team’s ups and downs for the seven years of his employment at Troy schools, superintendent Jacob Francom notes that “we have a group of girls moving through who are really dedicated” and comments on Young’s coaching “Justin has great relationships. He gets kids, and he gets their attitudes, and he can capitalize on those attitudes to get results. He’s very wise.”
After taking the reigns of a team that hasn’t won state since 1993, Young told his new team that they were going to take what they had and make it better “and they have accomplished that and then some” he says.
Assistant coach Robbie Radakovich also commented on how far the team has come “We went from winning only two games four years ago to winning 16 this year. Three points away from state. It’s an accomplishment the girls should be really proud of. They are great players, and even better kids”.
The coaches have watched some of the girls play since they were in 6th grade, and although they lose six seniors this year, they start strong next season with three starters. high school basketball season - the longest sports season- requires an intense commitment as coach or player and Young says “it’s a grind. Six days a week for the girls too.”
He says his wife knows when it’s coaching season, he might be at home, but he’s still thinking about basketball. Radakovich and wife Chelcy welcomed their first child towards the end of the season, and he knows first hand what it is to be have conflicting priorities.
But it’s clearly a loss for the players and coaches now the season has come to an end. Senior Allie Coldwell says ‘We played our hearts out. I’m so sad it’s over”. Coldwell reflects on her favorite moment during the season “I scored 31 points in the first divisional. It was great because I didn’t start out strong but once I started scoring I felt like I was on fire.”
Asked if there was any different techniques he and Radakovich tried this year, Young replied “We just let them play more. Really, that’s it. We’re doing less drills and more just playing and letting them figure it out.”
While the fans stand by to see what next season brings, Troy’s varsity team and their dedicated coaches have the memory of their bus pulling into the parking lot of the high school at 11 p.m after a win to be greeted by an excited crowd, and loudly ringing the victory bell.