LEMMON, SD (KFYR) – The thing about small towns is that everyone knows each other and everyone is connected.

Sometimes it extends to other nearby small communities.

But this story takes that connection to the next level. This is the story of a family that lives with basketball.

Luckily, sharing a passion has strengthened their connection and family bond.

Heather Katas approaches every basketball game with intensity.

This game is special for Coach Katus. Her Lemon Cowgirl hosts the Bowman County Bulldogs, who are mentored by Jaci Mrnak, who is her Heather’s eldest daughter.

“She’s got a really good team,” Heather said.

Jaci’s team is ranked #10 in North Dakota.

“I’m really proud of my daughters this year,” said Jaci.

This game is a non-conference match. On the line: Family bragging rights.

This family connection extends beyond the coaching staff.

Heather’s husband and Jaci’s father, Scott Katus, was one of the three referees serving.

“When I first got the offer for this game, I asked the athletic director, ‘Are you sure you want me to do this?’” recalls Scott.

The athletic director was fine with it, and so was the coach. In fact, they say Scott is one of the best when it comes to refereeing.

“He’s going to have a good game. He’s a good official,” Jaci said.

“It’s just basketball, two teams, and he’s doing what he loves,” added Heather.

This is Scott’s 25th year as a referee.

“He’s worked at the state tournament. He’s officiating the state championship games in South Dakota,” Jaci said.

Heather has been coaching Jaycee since he was a baby. She tutored all four of her children.

“I’m proud of my mom who works so hard for her daughters and loves coaching,” said Jussie.

Jaycee is in his fifth year with Bowman County, but his first as a head coach. Her parents get a glimpse into Jaci and the way she teaches.

“Some of the things her girls do that I taught her are definitely seen,” Heather said.

“You can really see her mother’s wisdom and her father’s stubbornness,” said Scott.

It’s easy to get caught up in winning or losing, but this family works hard to keep everything in perspective.

“This is just a game,” said Heather.

And they know how lucky they are to share moments like this.

“This doesn’t happen very often. This is really great for our family,” Jaci said.

Bowman County gave Jaci bragging rights of the year with a 54-31 victory over the Cowgirls in Friday’s game.


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