GREAT FALLS, Mont. - As the newest class AA high school in Montana, Kalispell Glacier has been steadily building their sports programs over the past decade.
After already achieving (in order of accomplishment) state titles in golf, tennis, wrestling, football and softball, now the Wolfpack can cross basketball off their list.
The Glacier boys team made that happen by winning the class AA state championship 46-42 over Bozeman on Saturday in Great Falls.
"It feels amazing," said senior guard Tadan Gilman. "We've been working for this since we were little kids. Just every single one of us growing up together and we knew one day this hard work would pay off and it finally did and it feels amazing."
"It's been awesome," added senior Jaxen Hashley who was named tournament MVP. "We've put in so much work and effort. Everything just finally added up to this, we're so excited."
"I'm numb right now," said Glacier head coach Mark Harkins. "It's the greatest feeling. I'm so happy for these kids and for the school and the community. It's just a really cool thing."
After the game was tied at halftime, the Wolfpack led for the second half. However they faced their share of adversity down the stretch as Glacier's leading scorer and rebounder in Jaxen Hashley, fouled out with three and half minutes to go in a one possession game.
"That says a lot about each one of these boys' character," said Gilman. "How we're unselfish and we like to share the ball. Not one of us decided that we were going to take it for the team, we did it together and we won as a team."
"Our coaches just told us not to quit," said senior Patrick O'Connell. "We have these shirts that say believe on them. We just kept believing the whole game. Jaxen went out and key guys stepped up for us and they just got it done. It was amazing."
"I was nervous but I knew all my brothers right there had the win for us," added Hashley. "I knew they had it so it was an amazing feeling."
Glacier head coach Mark Harkins started this program when the school opened their doors back in 2007. Through the ups and downs he's finally led the Wolfpack to the top of the mountain, and it's only fitting that 10 years later he wins the title with his youngest son Caden being a junior guard on the team.
"That's amazing to share an experience with a best friend that I get to live with every day," said Caden. "I mean it's magical. Not everyone gets to do that and I'm very blessed to have that opportunity."
"I'm incredibly proud," explained coach Harkins. "Yeah I'm a proud papa on that one. He's put in a ton of time and since he was a little kid he's been part of Wolfpack basketball so it's cool to see him have such a successful tournament."
Glacier finished their season with a program-best 20 wins on the year with only three losses. Besides the state title, this also marks the first year the Wolfpack have earned state hardware of any kind with a top-three finish.