The defending class A state champion Stevensville YellowJackets are headed back to the state tournament, despite taking a different path than was expected.
"You know at the beginning of the season that was our main goal to make it back to state and it was a little rocky road along the way but it shows a lot about our team," said senior Point Guard Jared Schultz.
"We definitely had a few ups and downs throughout the season, but we are starting to pull through now and really playing well together," said senior Chance Coleman.
About midway through the season one of Stevi's talented players Jesse Sims transferred to Corvallis. For a few weeks after that the YellowJackets really struggled. Tensions ran high amongst the team and a trip back to state was looking bleak, but the team fought through it and now here they are.
"It just shows you never quit, like I was saying before it was never easy, it was looking pretty dark there for awhile but we just came together as a team and just figured that this was our goal for the year to make it to state and we did it," said Schultz.
"Well for me it helped that we had senior leaders and they kind of pulled the team through it. It wasn't anything I said it was the Jared Schultz's and the Zach Gavlak's that got the team together and persevered through all of it," said Stevensville Head Coach Joey Wark.
In the last few weeks the YellowJackets have regained their championship confidence. They beat the number one team in the state in Dillon and beat Butte Central in double overtime to get to state.
"I think we are expecting to make it all the way again, we know how to do it a few of us have been through it a few times and we understand what it takes to get there," said Coleman.
"Everyone on this team knows that we can do it again this year, I mean it's on everybody's mind we have to go into the state tournament knowing what we can do and performing our best," said Senior Zach Gavlak.
"Well there's eight teams there and I think everyone expects to win basketball games there and win it all, we are one of eight and still get to play on," said Wark.
Stevensville plays Laurel on Thursday in Great Falls.