High Powered Thunderbirds Set for Season
Dave Selvig Bismarck Tribune
Putting points on the board was not a problem last season for the United Tribes men's basketball team.
Head coach Pete Conway's team led the nation in scoring by averaging 100.2 points per game last seaon as UTTC advanced to the Region 13 championship game and posted a 16-14 record. With a talented roster returning, scoring should not be a problem again this season. Conway says improving on the other end is key to another successful campaign.
"We need to improve defensivly and with some of the guys we brought in we think we can do that," Conway said. "We added some size and athleticism that I think can help us."
The Thunderbirds return three starters and two top reserves off last season's team.
All-conference and all-region guard Xavier Norris returns after averaging 19 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game last season. Other returning starters include forwards Antwann Antonio and Tommy Williams. Bismarck High's Ernest Grant played the sixth-man role effectively last season. Also in line for major minutes is Bearpaw Mosley in the post.
The Thunderbirds open their season today in Montana against Little Big Horn College. They also play Gillette College on Friday and Miles Community College on Saturday.
Conway believes he has the makings of a deep roster.
"These first few games we'll be able to see who can earn some of those minutes in the rotation," he said. "We have good competition within the roster. I think we have the potential to be a pretty deep team."
And one he plans to turn loose.
"We want to push the pace," Conway said. "We want to take quick shots. Obviously, we want them to be good shots, but we'll be up-tempo like always. That's the way I believe the game is supposed to be played, and it plays to the strengths of the guys we have."
The UTTC women's team also is headed for Montana and a tripleheader this weekend.
Coach Kelsy Peltier's roster features seven freshman and two sophmores. Ramie DeCoteau of Belcourt is their top returner.
The Thunderbirds advanced to the Region 13 championship game last season before losing to Bottineau.