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Northwest Montana A Conference
2014 STATE CHAMPS: GIRLS (GOLF)

CONTENTS

SPORTS

BOYS

BASEBALL

BASKETBALL

CROSS COUNTRY

FOOTBALL

SOCCER

TRACK AND FIELD

WRESTLING

TENNIS

GOLF

SWIMMING

GIRLS

BASKETBALL

VOLLEYBALL

SOCCER

CROSS COUNTRY

GOLF

SOFTBALL

TENNIS

TRACK AND FIELD

SPEECH/DEBATE

MUSIC

OTHER

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Home » Boys' Basketball News

Best of Preps - Winter 2014

April 16, 2014
Northwest Montana A Conference



 

Best of Preps - Winter 2014
Top winter athletes from the Flathead Valley

BASKETBALL
Christian Evans


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Bigfork
POSITION: Forward
HEIGHT: 6'6''
STATS: Class B all-state, 17 points/game & 8 rebounds/game

"It’s still hard to believe,” Christian says. The new banner hanging in the Bigfork gym provides a nice reminder — state champions. In a season for the ages, the Vikings went 26-0 and captured the school’s first state title. It was also the first championship for a Class B team from the West since 1987. The perfect season, which included two victories over the Class A champs in Columbia Falls, came under fire most during the state tournament against Huntley Project and Columbus. Not to be denied, Christian, a three-year starter and Bigfork’s top scorer, combined for 27 points in the two wins. His final moments on the court in high school were spent sinking vital free throws in the title game and then celebrating with his teammates, who all had a hand in this historic season: Josh Sandry, Isaac Martel, Jon Landon, Cameron Nissen, Adam Jordt, Ryder Trent, Wyatt Fisher, Tyler Piazzola, Koby Boese and Kyle Thomson.

BASKETBALL
Winter Kemppainen


CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
POSITION: Forward
HEIGHT: 5’10’’
STATS: Class A all-state, 10.13 points/game & 8.67 rebounds/game

Determined to step out of the shadow of the dynastic boys team and reclaim their standing atop the Northwestern A conference, the Wildkats steamrolled through the season en route to a 22-2 record, a divisional title and a third-place state trophy, the program’s first hardware since 1988. Winter played a key role throughout the season as a standout starter in her third year of varsity, joining a well-rounded lineup that included the talented Finberg sisters, Ciera and Cydney, and a senior leader in Haley Belgarde. Winter scored 17 points against Glacier, a strong Class AA team that narrowly dealt Columbia Falls its lone loss on the season, 53-51. The Wildkats beat opponents by an average of 27 points and unseated two-time conference champ Frenchtown as the best in the Northwest. “I’m proud of how we did,” says Winter, who is now playing on the softball field for the talented Columbia Falls team.

BASKETBALL
Alex Presnell


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
POSITION: Guard
HEIGHT: 5’9''
STATS: Class A first team all-conference, 11.52 points/game & 3.67 assists/game

"It was our turn and we had to keep it going, and we did,” Alex says. The tradition of excellence surrounding the Columbia Falls boys basketball team continues to amaze now that the latest group of Wildcats has achieved the ultimate prize. Though Alex and the Wildcats were not seen as title contenders when the season started, they quickly banded together and developed into a familiar well-oiled championship machine. Alex and his senior teammates graduate with a state tournament record of 11-2 the last four seasons, having brought home a top-three trophy each year. Individually, Alex scored 24 points against Anaconda and 23 against Eureka. At state, he had 31 points in three games. But that’s not what sticks out in his mind when he looks back on his time playing at Columbia Falls. “We don’t care about individual stats. All we care about is winning,” he says.

BASKETBALL
Hailee Bennett


CLASS: Sophomore
SCHOOL: Glacier
POSITION: Guard
HEIGHT: 5'6''
STATS: Class AA all-state, 12.2 points/game, 3.7 assists/game & 2.1 steals/game

In only two seasons, Hailee has already thrived as a leader in the varsity ranks and developed into one of the best underclassmen in the state. She became the youngest player in Montana to earn all-state honors after putting together a remarkable second season as Glacier’s starting point guard. Her best work came against crosstown rival Flathead, scoring a regular season-high 23 points in the first game, then leading her team with 21 and 19 in back-to-back wins, including a playoff victory that punched Glacier’s ticket to the state tournament. “My role as a leader became greater and I stepped up to that role,” she says. With only two seniors graduating — Cassi Hashley and Hannah Atlee — Glacier will undoubtedly be a top team yet again next year with Hailee at the point.

BASKETBALL
Josh Sandry


CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Bigfork
POSITION: Guard
HEIGHT: 6'1''
STATS: Class B all-state, 11 points/game & 7 rebounds/game

As Bigfork’s first-year head coach Josh Downey says, “Great players play great in big games.” That sums up Josh and what he did during the final weekend of the season. When it mattered most — during the state semifinals and championship — the junior guard erupted for more than twice his season average, scoring 25 points against Huntley Project and then 23 the next night against Columbus to help Bigfork win the state title. He was named the co-MVP of the tournament and earned all-state in only his second season playing varsity basketball. With high prospects going into the spring track season, Josh can already look back on a remarkable year of athletic accomplishments. He was the starting quarterback for Bigfork’s football team, which went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in 25 years and finished 9-1.

BASKETBALL
Cassi Hashley


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Glacier
POSITION: Post
HEIGHT: 6'1''
STATS: Class AA all-state, 15.5 points/game & 10.3 rebounds/game

Cassi leaves behind an accomplished career as Glacier’s top-scoring starter the past three seasons and one of the program’s all-time greats. As a powerful presence in the paint, she ranked among the top scorers and rebounders in the state since she was a sophomore and helped shape the Wolfpack into a postseason contender. For her final act, Cassi guided Glacier to the state tournament for the third consecutive year and ensured that another milestone would be achieved; she scored 28 points against Great Falls in the opening round and secured the program’s first victory at state. “Every year we got better,” she says. “It was a good four years and I had a great time.” Cassi will take her talents to Helena next year to play basketball at Carroll College.

BASKETBALL
Jared Trinastich


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
POSITION: Forward
HEIGHT: 6'5''
STATS: Class A all-state, 13.48 points/game & 9.88 rebounds/game

Jared didn’t miss a beat transitioning from an epic football season to a dominating basketball season. As the Wildcats’ power forward and leading scorer, he led the team to its sixth consecutive Northwestern A conference championship and then captained an inspiring run through the state tournament, averaging 12.6 points in the final five postseason games, including 18 against Laurel in the state semifinal round. Columbia Falls took down a talented longtime foe in the finale, beating Dillon 56-47 to win the team’s fifth state title since 2003. Junior Ty Morgan scored a game-high 14 points in that game, capping his remarkable season, and the boys etched their names on another state title, including teammates Alex Presnell, Trevor Houston, Grant Stenger, Jayce Fagerland, Austin Kimmet, Nakia Alexander, Mason Gedlaman and Grant Wallace. “Our last game we played was a win. That’s what we wanted to do,” Jared says.

BASKETBALL
Tessa Robertson


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Bigfork
POSITION: Forward/Post
HEIGHT: 6'2''
STATS: Class B all-state

The Valkyries tallied 19 wins this season behind the dominating play of Tessa, who excelled on both offense and defense and powered Bigfork to its first District 7B title since 2011. During the regular season she scored 32 points against Eureka, one point shy of the school record. She already owned the school record for blocks in a game — 11 — that she set as a sophomore. At the divisional tournament, Tessa had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Vals’ win over Ronan in the opener, and capped her prep basketball career with 11 points against Plains to secure third place. A multi-sport athlete, Tessa is finishing her senior year with track and hopes to earn all-state in the throwing events.

BASKETBALL
Evan Epperly


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Glacier
HEIGHT: 5'10''
POSITION: Guard
STATS: Class AA all-state, 17.8 points/game & 4.6 assists/game

From now on Evan will likely be known as a standout football player as he prepares to suit up for the Montana Grizzlies next fall. But it’s worth remembering that first he was an outstanding basketball player. The versatile guard leaves Glacier with an unselfish yet formidable legacy firmly intact. He played varsity all four years, and as the team’s starting guard the last three seasons Evan helped the Wolfpack win two Western AA conference titles and advance to the state semifinals three years in a row. Down to his final season, he took his game to another level, scoring 18 or more points nine times during the regular season, including 32 against Great Falls. At state, he went off for 24 points in the Wolfpack’s first-round victory. Last fall he captained Glacier to an inspiring football season that ended with the best record in program history and a few points shy of a state championship.

BASKETBALL
Jenessa Heine


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Flathead
HEIGHT: 6'0''
POSITION: Post
STATS: Class AA honorable mention all-conference, 11.4 points/game & 6.7 rebounds/game

Growing up in a family of basketball players and coaches, Jenessa developed a talent and passion for the sport. To prepare for her final prep season, she went to work in the weight room and as a result she finished with her best year yet, leading the Bravettes in scoring and rebounding. Alongside talented teammate Emma Andrews, Jenessa helped first-year head coach Lisa Hendrickson establish a new system and build for the future. The girls picked up a notable victory over Helena in overtime, and Jenessa scored a team-high 16 points. She had 17 points three times, including against Great Falls and a talented Columbia Falls squad. Teammate Emma also finished her standout career at Flathead with several impressive performances, including a 24-point game against Missoula Hellgate. Jenessa plans to play basketball at Spokane Falls Community College next year.

WRESTLING
Shonn Roberts


CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
STATS: Undefeated Class A state champion at 126 pounds

Proving he’s one of Montana’s great grapplers, if not pound-for-pound the best, Shonn achieved yet another undefeated championship season, this time at a heavier weight class. The talented Mat Cat, who won the 98-pound title as a freshman and 113-pound title as a sophomore, packed on a few more pounds to take on the highly competitive 126-pound division. It didn’t stop him from setting another remarkable benchmark, going 39-0, including victories over three other previous state champions, and helping Columbia Falls earn a third-place team trophy. His win total broke Columbia Falls’ school record of 38, set by Caleb Schaeffer, another all-time great Mat Cat who now coaches at the University of Great Falls. Shonn plans to wrestle at prestigious tournaments this summer, with his sights set on nationals, before returning for his senior season, when he’ll likely move up more weight classes and compete at 145 or 152.

WRESTLING
Bryan Shaffer


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
STATS: Class A second place at 152 pounds

Inspiration can become a powerful force. When Columbia Falls head wrestling coach Jessie Schaeffer urged Bryan to spend 60 hours training in the offseason, the senior went a few steps further. He turned in more than 120 hours in the weight room and training room. When coach Schaeffer told the senior grappler to have a strong heart during a lopsided match, Bryan fought back from a 5-0 deficit and won in the fourth overtime. Down to his final weeks of wrestling in high school, Bryan’s fire was aflame, and he won the divisional title, defeated an old nemesis in the state semifinal round and earned a second-place state medal, his best finish ever. Bryan’s run at state helped the Mat Cats earn third place as a team.

SWIMMING
Joshua Loyda


CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Class AA second place in the 100 backstroke & third place in the 50 freestyle

In his final weekend in the pool swimming for Glacier, Joshua set a school record in the 100-yard backstroke, clocking 53.74 seconds and earning second place at the state swim meet. It was just the latest in a long line of achievements. He already held three other school records for the relay events, which he helped set last season with Jake Cirincione, Logan Streit and brother Jordan Loyda. Even though this season had fewer trophies, it was still a memorable and enjoyable one, Josh says. “This year wasn’t so much about winning, it was more about having fun, helping the younger swimmers and having a fun senior year.” His focus is now set on college, where he’ll turn his attention toward double majoring in biomedical and chemical engineering.

SWIMMING
Jake Cirincione


CLASS: Sophomore
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Class AA second place in the 100 butterfly & fourth place in the 200 IM

As a skilled young swimmer, Jake successfully competed in national events before arriving back in his hometown of Kalispell for high school competition. In his second season he continued his quick pace in the pool, narrowly missing a state title in the 100-yard butterfly — he placed second by less than a tenth of a second — and earning fourth in the 200-yard individual medley. He also swam on Glacier’s runner-up 200-yard freestyle relay team and sixth-place 200-yard medley relay team, with teammates Joshua Loyda, Tommy Briner, Nate Burnham and Alex Augusta. It built on last year’s remarkable success, when Jake earned second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 individual medley, while swimming on the state champion 200 and 400 relay teams. He’s anxious to keep having fun while taking aim at a few school records during the rest of his already impressive swimming career.



BOYS BASKETBALL
Class AA
Bryan Michaels, Glacier, senior, second team all-conference
Matt Quist, Flathead, senior, honorable mention all-conference
Class A
Art Doorn, Whitefish, senior, first team all-conference
Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls, junior, second team all-conference
EJ Havens, Whitefish, senior, second team all-conference
Garrett Anderson, Whitefish, senior, second team all-conference
Jayce Fagerland, Columbia Falls, junior, honorable mention all-conference
Grant Wallace, Columbia Falls, sophomore, honorable mention all-conference
Keaton Nicholson, Whitefish, senior, honorable mention all-conference
Class B
Isaac Martel, Bigfork, junior, all-state
Cameron Nissen, Bigfork, senior, second team all-conference
Ryder Trent, Bigfork, junior, honorable mention all-conference

GIRLS BASKETBALL
Class AA
Emma Andrews, Flathead, senior, second team all-conference
Katie Wiley, Glacier, junior, honorable mention all-conference
Class A
Cydney Finberg, Columbia Falls, freshman, all-state
Haley Belgarde, Columbia Falls, senior, first team all-conference
Ciera Finberg, Columbia Falls, junior, first team all-conference
Ellie Johnson, Columbia Falls, sophomore, second team all-conference
Andrea Getts, Columbia Falls, senior, second team all-conference
Kiera Burlage, Columbia Falls, freshman, honorable mention all-conference
Simone Craft, Whitefish, senior, honorable mention all-conference
Class B
Mattison McAnally, Bigfork, sophomore, first team all-conference
Lana Berg, Bigfork, sophomore, second team all-conference
Riley Coleman, Bigfork, junior, second team all-conference

WRESTLING
Class AA
Tanner Stupack, Glacier, senior, third place at 170
Hunter Rush, Flathead, freshman, fourth place at 98
Axel Bladholm, Flathead, senior, fourth place at 285
Justin Gibson, Glacier, freshman, fifth place at 98
Cody Decker, Glacier, junior, fifth place at 126
Zach Dennehy, Glacier, senior, sixth place at 285
Cody DeVall, Flathead, freshman, sixth place at 98
Cameron Mantel, Flathead, freshman, sixth place at 152
Class A
Cody Walters, Columbia Falls, junior, third place at 160
Spencer Ross, Columbia Falls, junior, third place at 285
Winfield West, Columbia Falls, freshman, fourth place at 106
Mason Fetters, Columbia Falls, freshman, fourth place at 113
Zayne Brunz, Columbia Falls, senior, fifth place at 145
Manny Guzman, Columbia Falls, freshman, sixth place at 98

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