BIG HORN — After finishing a game short of making the state tournament last season, the Big Horn High School girls basketball team has shifted its goals a bit this year under a new head coach.

After serving as a boys assistant coach the past two seasons, Kip Butler will lead the Lady Rams, who return most of their starters from last year. The team lost All-Conference player Jill Mayer but will return All-Conference performer Sydney Schmidt.

Butler said the team has quality leadership and a solid group of upperclassmen returning.

“The girls set some goals this year and it’s more about being good people, being good teammates, being leaders in the school, setting a good example for the community,” Butler said. “That’s kind of where their goals lie right now, so they’re doing a good job of looking at the big picture and looking at life along with basketball.”

The players mentioned being more like a family this year. They said Butler has helped with that and has brought energy and lightheartedness.

“He makes practice fun,” Schmidt said. “Everything that we do, he has so much energy and enthusiasm for, it just makes it really enjoyable.”

Butler’s philosophy is a bit different than in years past and is more fast-paced and flexible, with most players spending time at each position on the court. The Lady Rams are quick but don’t have much height as a team, so they will look to push the pace and work defensively.

Shyan Davidson said practices are quick and change from day to day, which keeps the players on their toes.

Despite slightly different aspirations, the players want to make state, but Schmidt said they won’t look too far ahead because doing so hurt the players during volleyball season in the fall, when they didn’t qualify for state.

“I think we definitely started looking more to the future than we should’ve been previously, so in this season, we’re going to do it one game at a time and the rest will handle itself,” Schmidt said.

Under new leadership and with more emphasis on team unity, the Lady Rams will look to improve on last season.

Key stats

Head coach: Kip Butler

Last season’s record: 13-12

Last season’s conference record: 6-4

Key contributors: Courtney Wallach, Alisyn Hutton, Sydney Schmidt

2019 schedule

Jan. 12 at Tongue River, 2 p.m.

Jan. 18 vs. Moorcroft, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 19 at Sundance, 2:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 at Wright, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 26 vs. Rocky Mountain, 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 31 vs. Tongue River, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 vs. Buffalo, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs. Newcastle, 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 at Moorcroft, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 vs. Sundance, 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 15 vs. Wright, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 16 at Greybull, 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 21-23 at Regionals (Gillette)

Feb. 28-March 2 at State (Casper)