GREAT FALLS — Since 2012, the Montana boys haven’t lost a game to Wyoming in the annual Montana-Wyoming all-star basketball games and for the University of Providence and boys all-star team head coach Steve Keller, it’s a stat line he very much takes pride in.
“We tell our guys all the time, we don’t want to be the one to break the streak and it’s been pretty amazing because we’ve had close games almost every single year.”
That streak is now up to 18 games in the past nine years coaching the team. The all-star games have also become a family affair.
On the girls side they’re coached by Steve’s son, Wes Keller, who led the Rocky Mountain College women to the National round of 8 earning him WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year. Although Wes’s coaching record this past season trumps his father’s, Steve has asserted his fatherly dominance in the win column in the all-star games with the girls having suffered one loss under Coach Wes.
“I’m very proud of him and it’s very cool that we get to coach the all star teams together and you know we’re competitive amongst ourselves so I believe he’s lost one game so that competition exists as well.”
At the end of the day though, the two are coaching with each other not against one another.
“I’ll, a lot times, help him at halftime or I’ll ask him at halftime what he thinks I should be doing so we have a good relationship that way.”
This year’s group under Steve Keller, features a star-studded roster headlined by future Carroll College Fighting Saint, Helena Capital’s Brayden Koch to go along with many other college-bound players.
“Getting them to play together is huge. Obviously, they are the best players on their team and they’re averaging 15-20 points per game so they all can’t have that role when we get into an all star situation.”
Despite one of the two games falling on this year’s Montana East-West Shrine game in Great Falls, Keller expects a big crowd and lots of support, something the state hasn’t fallen short on in the past with gyms packed nearing 3,000-plus people.
Both teams start in Sheridan, WY Friday, June 17 with the girls playing at 5:30 p.m. with the boys following at 7:30 p.m. They follow it up with the second game on Saturday at Lockwood High School in Billings at the same time.