“The boys played well! Proud of them! First time at this level,” “tough loss, we’re still cheering for them,” “won 59-48,” “any win at the state level is an accomplishment above and beyond.” These are comments messaged us during this week’s games by former Lustre basketball players as they watched or listened from their homes in other states and countries.
The Lustre Christian High School community gathered to send the team off on Wednesday morning, March 8, to Billings in the midst of a snowstorm. There were cars lined on Lustre and Academy, horns blaring and a police and tractor escort, as well as cheering.
The Lustre Lions boys’ basketball team of 2023 have accomplished things never seen before in the history of the community. They earned one of eight places to Montana Class C State Tournament out of 183 schools in the state.
The team, coached by Randy Reddig, lost to Big Sandy in Thursday’s game, 47-60. Big Sandy eventually went on to place second. Two sections of the Billings Metra crowds were “a sea of blue” cheering for Lustre. The team worked diligently to beat Lone Tree/ Big Timber 59-48. Saturday, Lustre lost to Belt.
Amber Erickson and her North Country girls earned their win at state over Twin Bridges. In 1982, Twin Bridges also played an eastern division team, losing to Opheim that year. The Plentywood girls’ team achieved third place.
Reddig is more than a basketball coach. He is also a life-coach, mentoring students as coaches do, and he chose to take the team to see two former Lustre residents, Dennis Toews and Bob Baker. Both are wheelchair-bound due to Multiple Sclerosis.
Aaron Flint of Montana Talks also talked of the small communities in eastern Montana with their teams at the C State tournament.
Farmers are busy shoving snow with their tractors and James Gibson is making sure the bus routes are getting cleared for school.
Monday, March 6, the snow began with increasing wind by evening.
Awana was moved to Tuesday, March 7, since some of the volunteers were on the team.
It was storming again by Wednesday, March 8, with 8 degrees at 9 a.m. The storm dumped three-foot drifts in area yards sculptured beautifully by the winds. It has stormed all week, letting up on Saturday evening, March 11, in time to see the sunset.