By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Cahoon steps up as Lady Blackhawks head coach

 

December 12, 2019

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Lady Blackhawks Head Coach David Cahoon giving instructions to the team at the end of practice.

SEELEY LAKE – The Lady Blackhawks are under new leadership this year with David Cahoon stepping into the head coaching role. Cahoon said they are looking forward to working hard, having a good attitude and playing as a team.

While Cahoon has always enjoyed playing football, he didn't start playing basketball until he was a freshman at Seeley-Swan High School. He had to work more on the fundamentals and understanding the basics of basketball because he hadn't developed the skills and the knowledge from elementary school. However, he still had an important role on the team.

"I didn't get a lot of shots, but I did my job and I boxed out and I played good defense," said Cahoon. "All I had was my effort and then having a good attitude."

When Cahoon was in college he was an athletic trainer.

"I realized I liked athletics," said Cahoon. "I wanted to be around kids – I think they are fun, they are exciting, they have a lot of energy and they still have that 'I can do it' mentality. A high school kid changes so much in four years so that's pretty cool when they get done. They realize hey, you know, hard work paid off in this and hopefully that can translate into whatever's next in life, in college or at work."


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Cahoon has coached Blackhawks Track and Field for seven years, junior varsity football for five years and was the assistant girls basketball coach under Michael Robbins for the past two years.

"I like basketball because of the connection with the kids as far as this team sport mentality," said Cahoon. "And realizing that there's only five players on the floor, but if you're not working together your hole gets really big, really fast."

After years of preparing and waiting for the right time, Cahoon decided to apply for his first head coaching position. He decided it was time to step out and put all his heart into it.

For Cahoon, basketball doesn't come naturally like football and it is more of a challenge. He thinks that has helped him be more specific in his planning and preparation for the season. He also feels because he startedlearning basketball when he was older and he was never the star player that he can help players find their strengths and help them understand their role in the team.

"I don't just expect them to be able to do something because I can do it. There were a lot of little things that fundamentally I had to be able to get in order to be good enough to play on the floor," said Cahoon. "I can find the strengths of them and help them work on their weaknesses. As a coach you've got to be able to look and say, we have this, what can we do with it? I think we're going to be competitive. I think we're extremely talented. And to be able to get that involvement from everybody and finding their niche. That's a good thing."


In this first month of practice, the Lady Blackhawks changed up their offense. Because they are heavy on guards and don't have as many girls playing the post position, they are switching from a position-based to reactive offense. What the Lady Blackhawks lack in height, they hope to make up with patience, intelligence and speed. Cahoon pointed out they have state champion, possibly record-breaking relay teams on the team.

"In our meeting, the first thing I said was 'Attack, attack, attack! Sprint, sprint, sprint!' That is what this group is," said Cahoon. "Our top seven girls are incredibly fast even at the post position. So we're going to take advantage of that."

There are 20 girls out for basketball this year including three seniors. Cahoon has been really pleased with their humble leadership, open mind and willingness to bring the team together on and off the court. Even though it is a young team, Cahoon said there are seven starters on the team.


The team's goal is to make it to state.

"I think patience is what's going to get us there. And if we're patient and us coaches, as a staff, if we're patient with the progress that we make every week, I think we can get to where we want to be," said Cahoon. "We will not be state champs on Friday. The goal is to get to Districts, to get to Divisionals and then get to State. It's a progression. We have to realize that and understand that it takes time."

Cahoon is joined by Assistant Head Coach Colleen Stone of Ovando who played for the Lady Griz and Assistant Coach Chelsea Cahoon.

Cahoon has tried to be very honest with the players about himself and the team. While he works really hard being the best he knows how to be, he doesn't have all the answers and he encourages dialogue and questions. By modeling that he is willing to take feedback, criticism and admit when he doesn't know the answer, he hopes the players will be able to do the same on the court.

While Cahoon is confident they will win games and get to the level they aspire to achieve, he hopes they have fun and learn something along the way.

At the pre-season tournament in Ronan Dec. 6-7, the Lady Blackhawks won both games handily. On Friday they played Arlee winning 59-14. Saturday was another win against Frenchtown JV 52-13.

Cahoon said, "I'm excited. They're good kids. They work so stinking hard and they've been there for me when they didn't even know it. Hopefully they're there for themselves and for the rest of their team too."

The Ladies are on the road this week in Plains Dec. 14. The Boys JV starts at 1:30 p.m. followed by the Girls JV, Girls Varsity and Boys Varsity.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The team has been spending time in the early season growing as a team. They did player profiles answering questions like: What do you see yourself doing this season? What do you see the team doing? How can you help the team? How can the team be better? Cahoon compiled the words the girls used to answer the questions and created a word cloud that hangs outside the girls' locker room. The words that appeared most are larger with the least common words the smallest.

 

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