Havre Daily News sports editor
Both Montana State University-Northern head women's basketball coach Chris Mouat and men's head man Shawn Huse have been hot on the recruiting trail as of late.
Mouat has announced the signing of five new recruits to go along with signees Becky Sorenson of Wyoming and Jessica Thompson of Townsend, both of whom signed with the Skylights' program last month.
The new crop of recruits is highlighted by Chester/J-I standout Mary DeVries who will join Chester native Michele VanDyke on the Skylights' roster next fall.
The 5-11 DeVries has been a part of three consecutive Chester/J-I teams that have earned a trophy at the Class C state tournament. This past March, DeVries helped the Hawks earn a second-place finish at the state tournament in Hamilton.
DeVries is a three-time all-conference and all-state selection and in her senior year averaged 16.7 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
“What really stands out about Mary is her ability to hurt you in a number of different ways,” Mouat said. She can shoot the open jumper, she is athletic off the dribble and she has a great first step. Her versatility will really help us in our league.”
Mouat is also bringing in several other area stars including Great Falls High star Sam Schermele. Schermele is a three-time all-conference selection at GFH and in 2006 she earned all-state honors in helping lead the Bison to a third-place finish at the Class AA state tournament in Butte.
“Sam is a polished offensive player,” Mouat said. She knows how to score in a variety of ways and she has a good head for the game.
“She fit right in with our players on the floor and showed a lot of basketball savvy,” he added. “We think she has the potential to be very successful in the Frontier Conference.”
Kylee Starr, a 5-7 guard from Malta High School has also been added to the Skylights roster. She practiced with the team for most of the 2006 season and she is in her third year as nursing student at MSU-N.
During her high school career, Starr was part of two Class B state championship teams and as a senior she averaged 16.8 points per game.
Mouat also has added a pair of quality transfers to help bolster the MSU-N lineup. Chief among those is University of Great Falls transfer Dana Ball.
In 2004-05 Ball averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds a game for the Argos. Last season Ball suffered a knee injury that sidelined her for the entire year.
“Dana will be a great addition to the program,” Mouat said. “She has good size at the wing position and she has the ability to score off the dribble as well as from the perimeter.”
Ball is originally from Evanston, Wyo., where she shared 4A player of the year honors as a senior. Her brother Cody will be a freshmen on the MSU-N men's team this fall.
“MSU-Northern just seemed to be a good fit for Dana,” Mouat said. “She'll have a year to learn our system, get 100 percent healthy and watch Cody play for the Lights. We're definitely excited about her.”
The final addition to the Skylights roster is 5-9 guard Amanda Hovey. Hovey is a 2004 graduate of Twin Falls High in Twin Falls, Idaho, and she comes to MSU-N by way of Northwest College.
“Amanda is a very good perimeter shooter,” Mouat said. “She played both the point and shooting guard during her time at Northwest College and she handles the ball well under pressure.”
Meanwhile, MSU-N men's head coach Shawn Huse has only announced one signee thus far, but according to Huse it is an important one.
Huse has added 6-7 sophomore forward Drew Pettersen to the MSU-N roster. Pettersen, originally from Everett, Wash., played his freshman season at Edmonds Community College, which is part of the NWAACC, a league of junior colleges made up of entirely Oregon and Washington schools.
This past season, Pettersen averaged 22.1 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per outing. Both of those averages were well within the top 15 in the conference standings, and he was also second in the league in field goal percentage. Pettersen's play earned him first-team all-conference honors in 2006.
“Drew is a very high level character guy who brings a great deal of positives to our program,” Huse said. “He comes from a solid program which was coached by former Montana Grizzly Nate DuChesne and he has done a really nice job of helping Drew develop into an extremely productive forward.
“On the floor Drew contributes several things at a key position for a our team,” Huse added. “His consistent hard work, hustle and ability to score and rebound the ball while shooting good percentages will help our team get that much closer to where we left off a year ago.”
Huse expects to announce several more signees over the coming weeks.
In related MSU-N basketball news, seven Skylight basketball players and six Lights players were named to the 2006 Frontier Academic All-Conference team. Leading the way for the Skylights is senior Camille Gardner who carries a 3.76 GPA in Computer Information Systems.
The Lights members are led by senior Reid Stovall who is scheduled to graduate from MSU-N with a 3.88 GPA in Civil Engineering.
Skylight Academic All-Conference
Neesha Bravard, Jr., 3.29 in Nursing, Colfax, Wash; Camille Gardner, Sr., 3.76 in Computer Info. Systems, St. George, UT; Jena Heggem, Jr., 3.01 in Health Promotion, Winifred, Mont; Jaci Heny, Sr., 3.48 in Health & Physical Education, Powell, WY; DeLayne Johnston Sr. 3.30 in Biology, Richey, Mont; Ashley Trulock Jr., 3.12 in Elementary Education, Troy, Mont; Michele VanDyke, Sr. 3.19 in Health Promotion, Chester, Mont.
Lights Academic All-Conference
Leo Bullchild, Sr., 3.14 in Secondary Education, Browning, Mont; Brian Erickson Jr., 3.56 in Business Technology; Salt Lake City, UT; Nick Hittner, So., 3.43 in Business Technology, Beaverton, Ore; Reid Stovall, Sr., 3.88 in Civil Engineering Belgrade, Mont; Marcus Wilson, Jr., 3.25 in Computer Info. Systems, Chino, Calif; Pathe Yatera Sr., 3.58 in Computer Science Paris, France.