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Flathead County's top high school athletes. Winter 2011
April 17, 2011Columbia Falls High School
Flathead County's top high school athletes
Best of Preps: Winter 2011
By Myers Reece | Photos by Lido Vizzutti , 04-13-11 Nick Emerson (Sr., Columbia Falls, 6'5" point guard) - Class A all-state, 16.7 points, 55 percent field goals, 4.2 assists, 2.2 steals
Emerson led the Wildcats to a 22-1 record and the fourth state title in school history. He was often taller than every other player on the opposing team, yet he played point guard. He is adept at controlling a game's tempo, shooting, slashing to the basket and passing, as he proved by leading the conference in assists. His coach calls him a "special player," and apparently University of Montana coaches agree. After visiting the UM campus and competing well against current Grizzly players, Emerson was invited to walk on to the team next year. He has accepted the offer.
Emerson on choosing to walk on at UM instead of taking a scholarship to a smaller school: "The whole Division I thing - that's the real deal."
Bryan Chery (Sr., Glacier, 5'9" guard) - Class AA all-state, 12.5 points, 41 three-pointers made, 1.4 steals
Chery is one of the top outside shooters in Montana. He made 41 three-pointers during the regular season, which was tied for fourth best in Class AA. Of the top five leaders in three-pointers, he had the best percentage at 38. He was the Wolfpack's leading scorer. Also a standout on the gridiron, Chery will play football at Montana Western.
Chery on Glacier's school-record 11-game winning streak this season: "It was awesome. We just went into games expecting to win."
Christian Ker (Sr., Bigfork, 6'5" forward) - Class B all-state, 18 points regular season, 23.7 points state tournament
After guiding the Vikings to a Class B state football title at quarterback in the fall, Ker nearly led his school to the basketball state championship. He scored 32 points in a heartbreaking 81-78 overtime loss to undefeated and eventual champion Wolf Point in the state semifinals. At 6-5, Ker can shoot from the outside and play down low. He turned down a football offer and is evaluating his college options for basketball.
Ker on favoring basketball over football: "It feels more natural for me."
George Sherwood (Jr., Flathead, 6'4" power forward) - Class AA all-state, 12.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals
Sherwood was the Braves' second-leading scorer behind senior guard Joe Pistorese and their leading rebounder. Also a star receiver in football, Sherwood has his eyes on either college football or basketball. But he still has another year of high school left and he hopes to lead the Braves to the state tournament for the third straight year next season.
Sherwood on next season's goals: "To win the (conference) would be nice. And our ultimate goal would be the state championship."
Austin Barth (Jr., Columbia Falls, 6'6" post) - Class A all-state, 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks
Barth was a key player in the Wildcats' state title run. He provided a formidable low post presence on both offense and defense, leading the Northwestern A conference in blocks. He will be one of the state's most dominant big men next year as he leads a talented Columbia Falls team in a quest to repeat. Barth is receiving Division I attention for his quarterback play on the football field, but he could clearly play college basketball if he chooses.
Barth on next year's Wildcats, a likely frontrunner in Class A basketball: "We'll be coming back strong."
Kayla DeWit (Sr., Columbia Falls, 6'2" post) - Class A all-state, 19.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 46.8 percent field goals
DeWit has been one of Montana's most highly regarded high school basketball players over the past two years and has been named all-state three straight years. This season, she battled through foot injuries to lead the conference yet again in scoring and rebounding. She has expanded her game to feature outside shooting, which should be helpful next year at college. DeWit has accepted a scholarship to play for the Montana State University Bobcats.
DeWit on graduating and playing for the Bobcats: "I'm so excited I can't even describe it. I've had senioritis bad all year."
Caitlin Charlebois (Sr., Bigfork, 5'4" guard) - Class B all-state, 15 points, 3.8 steals, 39 three-pointers made
Charlebois led the 22-2 Valkyries in scoring, assists, three-pointers, free throws and steals this season. She shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range on more than 100 attempts. As a junior, she recorded the single-game school record with 11 steals. She has been named all-state multiple times in both basketball and soccer. Charlebois is deciding between several college offers for both sports.
Charlebois on a dominant season coming to a disappointing early end: "We went 22-2. It's hard to hang your head over a season like that."
Mallery Knoll (Sr., Bigfork, 5'5" guard) - 12.4 points, 52 percent field goals, 3 steals
Like her backcourt teammate Charlebois, Knoll is a multiple all-state selection in basketball, as well as a standout in volleyball and track. Knoll is among the fastest girls in any sport in Montana, though it appears her competitive basketball days are over. Knoll is considering track offers at Pacific University in Oregon and Montana State University, among other schools.
Knoll on losing to Deer Lodge in divisionals: "We killed everybody all year and won by so many points, when it came to divisionals, we weren't ready for a close game."
Tess Brenneman (Jr., Flathead, 5'8" guard) - Western AA second team all-conference, 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 steals
Brenneman led the Bravettes in scoring, steals and assists, ranking in the top 15 in the state in all three categories, including fifth in steals. She was also in the top 20 in rebounds. In addition to being an all-state selection in soccer, Brenneman is one of the best all-around track athletes in Montana, placing among the state leaders in multiple categories.
Brenneman on the team building chemistry for next year: "You start to understand everyone's strengths and their weaknesses. Once you get into the flow of that, everything starts flowing together."
Cassidy Hashley (Fr., Glacier, 6'1" post) - Western AA second team all-conference, 10.2 points, 6.6 rebounds
Hashley comes from a basketball family and it shows in her play. Only a freshman, Hashley led the Wolfpack in both scoring and rebounding, ranking in the top 10 in the state in both categories. She will only get better, and maybe bigger, as she matures, which might be bad news for opponents. Hashley thanks her teammates and coaches for helping her transition into varsity basketball.
Hashley on the team's senior leaders and coaches: "They really helped me so much. They made it so I was never intimidated."
Boyce Ballard (Sr., Glacier) - 189-pound Class AA state champion
Ballard became the first state wrestling champion in Glacier school history after defeating CM Russell's Ryan Otto with a 3-2 decision in the 189-pound championship match of the Class AA state tournament. His performance helped the Wolfpack to a second-place finish. Ballard has accepted a scholarship to play football at Montana Tech.
Ballard on the emotions of winning Glacier's first state title: "It kind of felt like I was on cloud nine. Knowing I'm not ever going to wrestle again, it was surreal. But ending the way I did was the way to go out."
MaKenna Siebenaler (So., Glacier) - Fourth in state in 50 freestyle, fifth in 200 freestyle
Siebenaler emerged from a crowded field of 60 swimmers in the preliminaries of the 50 yard freestyle at the state swim meet to advance to the finals, where she finished fourth with a time of 26.03. She also placed fifth in the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 2:04.03. Siebenaler still has two years of high school left and then she plans to swim in college.
Siebenaler on swimming: "I really love it. I enjoy the daily challenges and at meets pushing yourself to do your best."
Jordan Loyda (So., Glacier) - State champion 200 freestyle, state champion 200 freestyle relay, state champion 400 freestyle relay
In winning the 200 yard freestyle, Loyda became the first individual state champion swimmer in Glacier history. Not satisfied with one title, he also anchored Glacier's state champion relay teams in the 200 and 400 yard freestyles. Only a sophomore, Loyda appears poised for an impressive high school career, and perhaps beyond. At 6-3, he's already tall for a swimmer, but he hopes to reach at least his dad's height: 6-7.
Loyda on winning the state title: "I was so excited. When I went to school, everyone was shaking my hand. It was pretty cool."