Billings posted a strong 18-9 record last season. The Wildcats will have to replace leading scorer and second-team all-conference selection Luke Johnson along with fellow graduated player Jacob Smith.
Senior Tyler Essick will be one of the top players for Billings. He was second on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game and led the team in rebounding with 8.5 per game. He also chipped in 2 steals each contest.
“I think Tyler will have a big year,” Billings coach Kendall Tilley said. “He can rebound and score. That will open things up for our shooters and give them a guy to look for on drives.”
Classmate Bobby Brown led the team in three-point shooting last year with 58 makes in 148 attempts on his way to averaging 9.9 points per game. Expect those three-point totals to increase this year.
“Bobby needs to be a volume shooter this year,” Tilley said. “He can create his own shot well and has good range.”
Grant Groves gives Billings a third returning senior starter to lean on. He played in all 27 games last year and offered up 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
“Grant Groves is a returning starter that has good size,” Tilley said. “He can post up and stretch the floor with his shooting. He is also a long defender that can make guys change their shots in the paint.”
Sophomore Colton Plowman will get the first crack at running the point. Classmate Hayden Fender stands at 6-8 and is a strong rebounder. Kyler Tennis has worked hard over the summer and could be the fifth starter with improved defense. Jacob Henry gives Billings a third sophomore with a high ceiling. Braden Ray will see key minutes in his junior season.
This group will look to keep the momentum from last season’s 18-win season going.
“We had a decent year last year with 18 wins. We lost two key players that will have to be replaced with young guys,” Tilley said. “They will need to grow up fast for us to match last year. If they can, then I like this team’s chances. You have a good mix of seniors and younger players. If the can gel as a team then we will be pretty tough to beat.”