Until this year, the State B basketball tournament was a Must ‘B’ TV production for Bethany Hopkins.
“It looked like a lot of fun. I’d watch on TV and everybody was rock n’ rolling at the B Tournament,” said Hopkins, who was always off playing sports this time of year.
But all that has changed for the Ferris High School graduate. Hopkins will be at center stage tonight at 7 as the first-year Wilbur-Creston head coach when her Wildcats (19-7) play the undefeated Ritzville Broncos (28-0) for the title.
Hopkins took over the program when Steve Jantz stepped down after coaching the Wildcats to a 48-9 record in two seasons. She inherited the 1997 State B runners-up who lost to Ritzville 33-26.
This year, W-C has lost to the their Bi-County League rivals and the tournament favorite four times. The most recent was last week in the District 7 championship game 52-39.
But Hopkins, who played volleyball and threw the javelin at the University of Idaho, welcomes the challenge of a fifth meeting. And she’s brimming with excitement, as evident in Friday night’s 48-43 semifinal win over St. George’s.
When the buzzer sounded, the coach hugged her way into the center-court celebration huddle as if she’s one of the kids. At 23, she isn’t far removed.
And here’s something else that demonstrates her youthful exuberance.
If the Wildcats win tonight, Hopkins said she’ll shave her head.