HELENA — When the Carroll College men’s basketball team sets out on its road trip this weekend, it will travel to some very familiar territory.
The second-ranked Saints (20-2, 9-1) will first make a stop on Friday to take on the University of Providence in Great Falls and then continue driving northwest to Havre for a game against Montana State-Northern.
For most of the players it’s just another business trip.
But for Matt Wyman and Dane Warp, it’s a homecoming they have been looking forward to for some time.
“It’s always been a lot of fun (going home),” Wyman said. “I think over the last couple of years there’s been more cheer for Carroll than there has been for Providence or UGF.”
Wyman graduated from Great Falls High with a long list of accomplishments both on and off the court, including class valedictorian, first-team all-state, first-team all-conference and a member of the Great Falls Tribune’s Super State Team.
But his time at McLaughlin Center Gymnasium hasn’t been as successful as he has liked. The last time he entered the arena, his team was upset 59-58 where he only scored 12 points.
The year prior, he averaged just five points in two trips.
He even joked he couldn’t remember his best memory, so he decided to share one of his worst.
“Two years ago, we had a game over Christmas break up there and we showed up to the gym and it was 50 degrees inside,” Wyman said. “The whole time my hands were freezing, because I don’t have the best circulation. I couldn’t get warm. It was terrible.”
After the Saints face Providence, they won’t waste time getting on a bus for the hour plus ride to Havre the for a game the next day.
Warp also had plenty of success both on the court and on the gridiron for Havre High.
He averaged 23.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Blue Ponies his senior season, but didn’t get much experience playing at Northern’s Armory Gymnasium.
That said, he knows his opponent will be tough. Carroll had to rally to get the win during its last meeting in November.
But like the other players on the roster, both Wyman and Warp know they need to keep helping the Saints push forward in the Frontier Conference.
Carroll has won nine of its last 10 games and has a three-game lead over second-place Lewis-Clark State.
“I know (Dane and Matt) will play well in front of their home fans,” Saints coach Kurt Paulson said. “I’m excited to see what they can do.”
That doesn’t mean a trip home can’t be enjoyable off the court, as well.
Warp said he’s looking forward to his mom’s home-made Korean food.