Randall Gardipee helped Box Elder complete a perfect season en route to the Class C state championship.
Carson Dummer, Helena Capital
Dane Warp, Havre
Jayse McLean, CMR
Bryden Boehning, Glendive
Jared Samuelson, Billings West
Kendal Manuel, Billings Skyview
Zach Handley, Malta
It was a crazy 2013-14 boys’ high school basketball season, with a fair amount of change compared to the year previous.
Four new state champions provided evidence. Plus, there is only one repeater on this year’s Great Falls Tribune Super-State boys’ basketball team.
On this year’s Super-State team we have five players from Class AA — including Missoula Hellgate’s Tres Tinkle, the lone repeater on the elite team three from Class A, one from Class B and one from Class C.
As always, the Super-State team is selected by the Great Falls Tribune sports staff after discussion with a number of coaches and fans.
• TRES TINKLE, a 6-6 senior-to-be forward from Missoula Hellgate who was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Montana boys’ basketball Player of the Year, is the lone Super-State repeater. He averaged 21.1 points per game – third best in the AA – for the Knights this past season. Hellgate lost to Helena Capital High in the Class AA State Championship in Billings, where Tinkle averaged a tournament-best 23.3 a game. Tinkle, who also averaged 7.3 rebounds and is getting looks from some major Division I programs, looked like a college player competing in high school gyms across the state during his junior campaign, displaying a skillset and frame that is leaps and bounds more refined than anybody else in the state.
C.M. Russell High head coach John Cislo didn’t have to play Tinkle this season, but the Rustler mentor has watched film of Montana Grizzly coach Wayne Tinkle’s son and had a chance to watch him at the State AA tournament in Billings.
“He’s a kid that can do a little bit of everything,” said Cislo. “He can score, rebound ... He was kind of the heart of that team. (He) got a lot of shots, but, you know, he earned a lot of shots. That kid moves without the basketball and really has a good feel for the game. (He’s) only going to get better.”
• CARSON DUMMER of Helena Capital is “as solid a big man as I think there was in quite some time in our league,” said Cislo. Dummer played his best basketball of the season when his team needed him the most: in the state tournament, and, more specifically, in its heavyweight bout with Missoula Hellgate in the title game. The 6-foot-8 center, who will play at Carroll in the fall, averaged 14.2 points a game during the regular season, but during the tournament in Billings, where his team claimed the state title, the big man averaged 18.3 a game, pulled down seven rebounds and swatted away 2.7 shots a game. He was named the Tournament MVP.
• KENDAL MANUEL of Billings Skyview is one of best pure shooters – and scorers – in the state. The lanky 6-foot-3, senior-to-be guard averaged an AA second-best 21.3 points per game for the Falcons. He made 46 treys, tied for second overall, and converted on 37 percent of his 3-point attempts. The guard’s ability to knock down shots from the perimeter and slither his way into the lane made him one of the best players in Montana.
“That kid right there, I mean, he is good,” said Cislo. “He’s a slasher – he was hard to guard. I thought he moved great without the ball. He was difficult to keep in front of you and if you sagged off, he could hit a shot from 23 feet. He did it all.”
• JAYSE McLEAN of CMR carried his team for most of the season, scoring 18.3 points per game and grabbing 8.2 boards a game. McLean, a scholarship baseball recruit for North Dakota State, led the Rustlers to a state tournament appearance with his rugged play down low on the block, while proving to be a threat on the perimeter if left open.
“He did everything we needed,” said Cislo. “Everything that a good basketball player does, he did. I mean, he did it all for us – and we had to have him do it all for us to be successful this year. Obviously we were .500 – 12-12 – but I don’t think we are close to that without Jayse.
“I also think that Jayse is one of the more underrated athletes that will kind of go down in CMR history because we don’t win a state title in football and we don’t win one in basketball with him, but he was a great player in both sports and obviously at the baseball level, too.”
• JARED SAMUELSON of Billings West averaged 19.1 points per game this season for the Golden Bears. The 6-foot-7 senior-to-be created mismatches for opposing teams because of his size on the interior and his ability to knock down shots on the perimeter.
“He was a tough matchup for us,” said Cislo. “We had a tough time with him because of his length, and he has the ability to shoot. And he also has the ability to go inside, post up and get some easy buckets there.”
• DANE WARP of Havre averaged 23.7 points and 6.8 rebounds a game for the Blue Ponies. The rising junior-to-be competed well against tougher competition, scoring games in the high 20s in games against both CMR and Great Falls High.
“He’s a great player,” said Cislo. “He’s hard to guard because he’s long, he takes the ball to the hole. He can hit a 3, so if you go at him, he can go by you and finish at the basket, too. That kid was as tough as anybody to guard in the state – in the teams that we play.”
Havre head coach Curt Leeds says Warp is a natural scorer who is multi-talented that can play anywhere on the court.
“Dane had a great season for us,” said Leeds. “ … He kind of led in almost every single category for us. He was the main center of our offense. And with his length, he really created some hassle and got some turnovers defensively for us.”
• JARED TRINASTICH, a 6-5 senior for State A champion Columbia Falls, averaged 13.5 points per game for a talented and well-balanced Wildcat squad.
“He was a pretty solid kid,” said Leeds. “When he played us, he was pretty effective against us just with his size. “And he didn’t do anything out of tempo; he played within himself and played a team game.”
• BRYDEN BOEHNING of Dawson County High in Glendive is the biggest player on the Super-State team at 6-10 and 230. He’s also a big-time recruit, having signed a scholarship offer from the Montana Grizzlies. Though Boehning’s team did not qualify for the State A tournament, he had a fine season and, despite being often double and triple-teamed, averaged about 15 points and 11 rebounds. An excellent competitor, Boehning hopes to follow the lead of former Glendive stars Roger Fasting and Derek Selvig en route to college success at UM.
• ZACH HANDLEY, a 6-foot senior guard, averaged 20 points per game, five rebounds and three assists per game for a Malta team that finished third in the Class B State Tournament after losing its first-round game.
“Really with Zach, it isn’t those stats that make him the player he is, it’s the intangibles” said Malta head coach David Costin. “He is a great leader. We were extremely young this year … and Zach led us, and he coached a ton on the floor, and maybe as much as I did from the bench this year.
“He had a great sense of timing – whenever we needed something … If we needed a rebound, if we needed a steal, if we needed a basket at a certain point in the game, Zach seemed like he could provide that at that time. He just had a great feel for the game.”
• RANDALL GARDIPEE of Box Elder was the Bears’ go-to player when they faced some adversity – however small it was – at the Class C State Tournament in Butte. That’s where Box Elder capped a perfect 26-0 season to win its first championship since 1990. Gardipee scored 23.7 points per game in Butte.
“He had a great season,” said Box Elder coach Jeremy MacDonald. “He was one of our leaders statistically and one of our floor generals. I think when we got into some tight spots at the state tournament, Randall really stepped his game up.”
For the regular season, Gardipee averaged 20.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
“He’s a good player,” said MacDonald. “He can knock down the 3, but he is really smooth on the interior with his post and his footwork. He creates space for himself, and he finds openings. He shoots a really high percentage. I think on the year, he was over 60 percent, so he is a very efficient scorer.
“We’re going to have to find a way to replace his efficiency. He’s going to be a tough player to replace.”