The Power Pirates basketball team is in the midst of its season, the first since the passing of former head coach Griff Bye. While the team's unique way of honoring him might be out of the ordinary, for this group and their old coach, it's just what makes sense.
This past weekend at a basketball tournament in Chester, jerseys and suits weren't the norm. Instead, Hawaiian shirts dominated the gym. All to pay homage to a coach whose legacy goes far beyond a unique wardrobe.
"It was a moment of pride and thankfulness that he was my coach," said Pirates senior guard Sam Leigland. "You look back and you remember the good times that he had with you."
Nearly seven months after Griff Bye passed away due to complications with surgery basketball fans around the state of Montana looked back on the good times spent with him.
"The one thing I always said about Griff was he was the most genuine person I've ever met," said North Star Public Schools Activities Director Brian Campbell.
The Pirates lost to the North Star Knights on the first day of the CJI Preseason Tournament, another team Griff once coached, in a tight 59-58 defensive battle. The loss served as a reminder to the Pirates that this is a new season.
"We're moving on. That's what happens in life. You gotta get back to normal," said new Pirates head coach Loren Dunk.
It'll be up to new head coach Loren Dunk to get the Pirates back to normalcy. The head man is back coaching boys varsity hoops for the first time since 1995.
"I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about the players we had and what would give us the best opportunity to compete," he said.
And compete they will, not only because of the new energy Dunk brings, but because there's extra motivation this season.
"(Griff's passing) kind of gives us more heart," Somerfeld said.
The origin of that newly found heart: Griff, who is still the furthest thing from an afterthought.
"As a team if we do good together and play our best like he wanted us to then I think we're doing the right thing," said senior post Javy Somerfeld.
The Pirates begin play in the 10C division Friday when the team hosts Valier.