Havre Daily News
If you're looking for exciting basketball, look no further than the 20th annual Hi-Line Invitational boys and girls basketball tournament which kicks off tonight at 5:30 in Malta.
The tournament features the top players from across the state of Montana, as Class AA, A, B and C will compete for bragging rights in an all-star format that features the best of the best in Montana high school basketball.
The Class A boys team features Havre High standout Jeremy Giardina. Giardina, a first-team All-State performer, who had a spectacular senior season, leading the Ponies in scoring on the way to a Class A state tournament appearance.
The team also features Derek Selvig and Shane Germann of the Glendive Red Devils. Glendive was the team that knocked off the Ponies in a dramatic opening-round game at the state tournament. The Class A state champion Columbia Falls Wildcats are represented by Kevin Boyer. Rounding out the team are Jeff Steadman of Sidney, Shaughn McKeon of Butte Central, Jordan Running Wolfe of Browning, Phillip Barndt of Billings Central and Colton Real Bird of Hardin.
The Class AA team is a talented group led by All-State selections Bobby Howard and Shaun Tatarka of the Great Falls High Bison, the 2006 Class AA state champions. Butte High will also be well represented on the team with All-State performers Kyle Burman and Jeff Edwards. Jesse Haildreth and Jamison McBride of Bozeman and Andy Garland of Missoula Sentinel are also included on the AA roster.
The Class B team has talent from all around the state led by Jeff Larson of the Class B state champion Cut Bank. Larson was the MVP of the 2006 state tournament in Great Falls and was also an All-State selection. The team also features Rick Haluzska, who led the Harlem Wildcats to the Northern B Divisional tournament and he too was an All-State selection. The team also includes Layne Glaus of Whitehall, David Foster of Big Timber, David Kimm of Three Forks, Gus McDonals of St. Ignatius, Lance Vescovi of Roundup and Evan Hopkins of Thompson Falls.
The Class C team will be highlighted by Hays-Lodge Pole freshman sensation A.J. Long Soldier, who led the T-Birds to a spectacular third-place finish at the Class C state tournament. Kale Eike and Adam Weisz represent the Class C state champions, Melstone. All-State performer Jesse Brave Rock will represent Heart Butte. The team will also boast Aaron Henry of Box Elder, Jason Tanascu of Gardiner, Shade Stiles of White Water and Troy Ruff of Custer.
On the girls side, the Class A team will have a pair of Havre Blue Ponies on the team as HHS head coach Jason Wirt will coach the team and senior Kelsey Evans will play point guard. Browning will boast two players on the roster with All-State selection Jenna Skunkcap and teammate Tahni Edmo. Deveral Tolbert and Rae Lee Pretty Weasel will play from Hardin. Ali Hurley and Carla Laslovich of Anaconda as well as Breanne Shipman of Glendive round out Wirt's Class A squad.
The Class C team will be well represented by the Hi-Line as All-State performers Keyla Briese and Mary DeVries of Class C state runner-up Chester/J-I will help lead the way along with fellow All-State selections Kacy Herron and Naomi Williams of Big Sandy. Reed Point/Rapelje, the 2006 Class C state champions, are also well represented on the team with state tournament MVP and All-State selection Elly Bruursema, along with her teammate and All-State performer Kristin Ballach. Rounding out the Class C team will be Kendall Theriault of Harlotown, Ashley Grammens of Lavina, Kendra Stepler of Lambert, Kezia Ford of Augusta and Haley Carr of Charlo.
The Class C squad team will be coached by C/J-I head coach Dustin Gordon.
The Class AA team is loaded with talent from the Great Falls area as the team includes four players from CMR led by All-State performers Kelsey Hopkins and Kassie Homlund. The other CMR players are Dani Walsh and Mary Anderson. The AA state champion Bozeman Hawks boast three players of their own on the team, including All-State selection Jenni Guertin as well as Leslie Sanders and Kristin Tilleman. Filling out the AA roster is Joslyn Tinkle of Missoula Big Sky.
The Class B squad will have a hometown feel for Malta fans, as Laramie Schwenke and Kelly Pankratz will help get things going for the team. Others on the team include Kayla Ryan and McKenzie Foster of Big Timber, Marissa Stanchfield of Cut Bank, Courtney Oates Jessica Overstreet of Three Forks and Kalli Buck of Choteau.
Another exciting element of the weekend will take place on Saturday with the slam dunk contest and the 3-point shootout.
All of the action will take place at the Malta High School gymnasium.
20th Annual HIT Tournament
5:30 p.m. AA vs A Girls
7 p.m. AA vs A boys
8:30 p.m. B vs C girls
10 p.m. B vs C boys
9 a.m. A vs B girls
10:30 a.m. A vs B boys
12 AA vs C girls
1:30 p.m. AA vs C boys
3 p.m. AA vs B girls
4:30 p.m. AA vs B boys
6 p.m. 3 Point Contest (Boys and Girls)
6:30 p.m. A vs C girls
8 p.m. Slam Dunk Contest
8:30 p.m. A vs C boys
10 a.m. Consolation Game for Girls
11:30 a.m. Consolation Game for Boys
1 p.m. Championship Game for Girls
2:30 p.m. Championship game for Boys