CUT BANK — The Malta M’ettes basketball program is a staple of girls hoops in the state winning 10 of the last 50 state championships in class B. This year, and with the team they have this season, they could make it number eleven.
“We want to win state, we felt like we were pretty close last year,” Malta Head Coach Nate Hammond said. “We feel that when you go to the state tournament, you Catch a break or two and play well, you got a pretty good chance.”
The M’ettes finished third last year after losing to Big Timber in the semifinals.
However, this year, they’ve only lost two games all year which have been to the defending Class A champions, Havre. They also bring back all-state juniors Allison Kunze and Maddie Williamson as well as all-conference players Justine Lamb and Addy Anderson.
“I think we had a lot of drive to come back this year after losing at state and taking third place so we came back and we’re ready to go to state again,” Kunze said.
“They’ve been through tough losses together, they’ve been through big wins together and they just feel like sisters I think just because they’ve been together so long,” Hammond added.
Since 1991, Malta girls basketball rattled off 10 state titles, the most in state history, while producing a host of legends from the '90s and more recently Griz standout Sophia Stiles. The coaches and players both past and present of the Malta program are forever connected.
“We have a long line of support of kids that have been through the program that keep up with our page and like to comment on stuff and come to our state tournaments and Malta just has a great tradition for girls basketball and it’s really fun for these kids that are playing there now that there are kids like Sophia Stiles watching them,” Hammond explained.
“Growing up in Malta is awesome,” Kunze mentioned. “Small town, everyone knows everyone so when you grow up playing basketball you go to those games as a little kid and look up to those girls.”
With the veteran group under head coach Nate Hammond, the team has stayed with their formula of success from last year.
“As far as the system goes and how things work and out of bounds plays, you don’t have to spend much time on it. The kids not only know what they’re doing but why they’re doing it and that helps a lot as a coach.”
The team will be at Montana State University in Bozeman March 10-12.