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MIB's Buffetta Leading Girls and Boys Programs this Season

Updated: January 21, 2020 12:17 AM

Since Luke Winans, the former Mountain Iron-Buhl boys basketball coach since 1995, stepped down from his coaching duties following last season; Jeff Buffetta knew he had to jump at the opportunity of coaching the boys basketball team. However, he wasn't ready to give up the girls program.

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"I want to be able to help out both programs. It's hard to do it when you're totally invested in the girls to be with the boys and I thought the only way to happen is to coach both," explained Buffetta.

He had to figure out the logistics of scheduling practices and games for both teams, but he knew he could make it happen. His players were some of his biggest supporters.

"When I first found out, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, he's going to be happy all the time' because he loves basketball," explained MIB senior guard Mia Ganyo. "Now that he's doing both boys and girls, it's just like one of his dreams I feel like."

"I was honestly excited because I've heard in the past years how successful he's been with his girls team and I thought it could maybe carry into our program as well," explained freshman guard Asher Zubich.

His new normal sometimes consists of practice with the girls and then racing to get ready before the boys play in a game.

"I didn't think it was possible in the beginning, but he manages it really well," added Zubich.

"He's going to be eating a little granola bar here soon. I think it's so funny because it's his supper, but he makes do. He loves it, it's his passion," added Ganyo.

Coming into this season, the girls were looking to fill the holes for four seniors that graduated who contributed to 90 percent of their scoring. The boys graduated six key players from a 14-12 team and rely heavily on their young talent. However, working a little closer, both programs have been able to feed off of each other.

"The boys are super confident in their offense and in their scoring and the girls weren't," explained Ganyo. The girls are disciplined and we have a lot of structure and the boys didn't so we kind of feed off each other."

"You like to be around kids that like to work hard and I think we have two groups of kids who work hard and come here every day and they come to open gym and they expect to be pushed. So as long as that's what's happening, it makes it fun coming here," said Buffetta.

The girls have dropped four games all season, while the boys sit just under .500. As long as both programs are seeing the benefits of Buffetta as the boss, who knows how long he'll be pulling double duty. Even if the Rangers qualify for a 10th consecutive girls state tournament and the boys make a run during section playoffs, which would happen at the same time, Buffetta has a plan.

"That's the ultimate goal I guess at some point over the next year, two years or three years. It will work. I've looked at the schedules. It'll work it will just be some driving back and forth," said Buffetta.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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