By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
For the second straight year, the best high school basketball players from Indian reservations around the state of Montana will meet to determine which has the best players in the state.
The second annual Montana All-Star Tribal Challenge kicked off this morning at the MSU-Northern gymansium and will run through Saturday.
The tournament which is presented by the Montana State University-Northern athletics department and the Skylight women's basketball team has some of the top boys and girls Native American high school players in the state of Montana competing for a traveling trophy and bragging rights for the rest of the year.
Last year, the Fort Belknap Reservation captured the boys title, while the Fort Peck Reservation captured the girls title.
The defending boys champs feature several familiar names and strong players that return from last year's squad. Harlem's Ben Carrywater and Jim Kennedy have been playing well in postseason tournaments and lead the Belknap team. Joining them are teammates John Young and Jordan Mount. The Hays-Lodge Pole T-Bird will have a pair of guards - Robyn Doney and Dwight Flansburg - on the team along with Steven Hopkins and William DeLelles of Dodson.
The other local squad from the Chippewa Cree Reservation featurels a host of Box Elder and Rocky Boy standouts.
All-state forward Tim Rosette leads the Chippewa Cree team along with teammates Neal Rosette, Aaron Henry and Tyler Henry. Charles Walking Child, A.J. The Boy and Kyle Windy Boy - all starters for Rocky Boy this year - are on the team.
The Fort Peck Reservation will feature four players off of Class C state champion Brockton. High scoring guard Tyson Bauer, point guard Casey Weston and forwards Jayce Lambert and Griffen Ricker highlight the squad.
The Blackfeet Nation team is also very solid led by high-scoring Heart Butte guard E.J. Aimsback and Browning's Karl Ingraham.
The Northern Cheyenne team consists mostly of players from Lame Deer, led by high-scoring guard Clint Shoulderblade, while the Apsalooka Nation team features Elvis Old Bull Jr. of Hardin.
On the girls side, the defending champion Fort Peck team is led by four players from a solid Wolf Point squad, including Jaqiline Sansaver and Mary Zilkoski. Also on the squad are 5-10 forward Loretta Brown and senior Ashley Moran of Culbertson.
The Chippewa Cree team will feature seven players off Rocky Boy's Northern C Divisional qualifiying team. Forward Marty Rae Stiffarm along with twins Leiloni and Tori Belcourt - all all-conference performers - lead the team. Also on the team is Box Elder's all-conference forward Shaneen Raining Bird.
The Fort Belknap team has seven players from a very good Dodson team. Forward Amanda Messerly and guards Deserae Kill Eagle, Belinda Horn and Suzi Kirkaldie are on the team. Colette Hawley will represent Hays-Lodge Pole, while Olivia Main and Colleen Filesteel from Harlem are on the team.
Admission for the tournament is $5 for adults for all day, $3 for students and senior citizens.