George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
North Central Montana never disappoints when it comes to girls high school basketball. The Hi-Line, including Havre, as well as teams from District 9C and 10C are packed with talented girls basketball players, and the 2008-09 season was no different. For the third year in a row, Havre High stunned a top-ranked opponent at the Class A state tournament, and finished fourth there for a second consecutive season. And some of the Class C's best teams, like Big Sandy, North Star and Box Elder were right here on the Hi-Line. And the Havre Daily News' 3rd Annual All Hi-Line Girls team reflects the fine play of girls from around the area. This year's team features three repeat performers, seven seniors, seven Class C talents and only the third sophomore ever to be selected to the list. Laci Keller, Big Sandy Big Sandy's 6-1 star center Laci Keller is no stranger to postseason accolades, and she's no stranger to the All Hi-Line Girls Team. Keller has made the list for three straight years, and this year was a unanimous choice. In her four seasons at Big Sandy, Keller's teams won three District 9C tournament titles, one Northern C championship, appeared in four Class C state tournaments and reached the Class C title game in 2008. Keller averaged 21 points and 13 rebounds in her career, and in her senior season, she poured in 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds per game in helping Big Sandy to yet another 9C title and a third straight state tournament berth. Keller is a three-time Class C All-State and Northern C All- Conference selection and she garnered plenty of interest from colleges all over the region before deciding to keep her talents on the Hi-Line by signing with Montana State University-Northern and head coach Chris Mouat. Hope Hedges, Havre High Havre High senior point guard Hope Hedges might be small in stature, but her impact on the Blue Pony program has been nothing short of huge. The only other unanimous selection to this year's All Hi-Line Girls Team, Hedges makes the list for a third straight season. Also, after a season in which she led the Central A Conference in steals for yet another year, as well as scoring nine points and dishing out five assists per game, Hedges earned first-team all-conference honors for a second straight season. Hedges has widely been considered the Central A's best defender over the last few seasons and her speed, ball handling ability and knack for getting steals has made her one of the most productive guards in recent Central A history. Hedges' impact on Havre High basketball can also be seen in the Ponies' results. In her three years as a starter for the Ponies, they reached three straight Class A state tournaments, played for three consecutive Central A tournament championships, and Hedges' teams have won 70 percent of their games over that stretch. Justine Beaudry, North Star The only other player to repeat as an All Hi-Line performer is North Star senior Justine Beaudry and repeats for good reason. Beaudry helped the Knights finally get past the District 9C tournament and into the Northern C Divisional this season, and she averaged 12 points and was one of the 9C's best 3-point shooters along the way. A three-year starter for North Star and head coach Brian Campbell, Beaudry helped the Knights finish no worse than third during the three regular seasons in which she was part of the starting lineup. Beaudry also averaged 11 points per game and five rebounds for her career at North Star and is a two-time Northern C All-Conference selection. Cassi Darrah, Havre High Blue Pony junior Cassi Darrah had a breakout season for head coach Dustin Kraske and HHS and the timing couldn't have been any better. After suffering heavy losses due to graduation in the spring of 2008, Darrah stepped right in to a scorer’s role and the Ponies didn't miss a beat. The versatile Darrah led HHS in scoring and rebounding this past season, and was a Central A Second Team All-Conference selection. Darrah averaged nearly 12 points and six rebounds for the Blue Ponies and was a constant menace for opposing defenses because of her balanced inside-out game. A stellar 3-point shooter with good size, Darrah should be one of the top players in the Central A next season. Rylin Burns, Box Elder When Box Elder star Rokki Parker graduated last year, many thought this season would be a rebuilding year for the Bears. But with super sophomore Rylin Burns leading the way, the Bears went on to have a remarkable 2008-09 season. Burns averaged almost 20 points per game and was one of the Bears' leading rebounders on her way to Northern C All-Conference honors. She also had the Bears within one game of reaching the Northern C tournament for a second straight year. And with two more years of high school basketball left, the high-scoring Burns will be troublesome for opposing 9C defenses for years to come. Britnee Dyrland, North Star North Star junior Britnee Dyrland was a big part of why the Knights finally got a chance to play on the Four Seasons Arena floor this past year in the Northern C Divisional tournament. The 5-11 Dyrland was as tough as they come in the post this season, averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Knights. In her second year as a starter at North Star, Dyrland battled her way to Northern C All-Conference honors and is looking to have a big senior season for the Knights, as she will widely be considered one of Class C's top post players heading into her final year at North Star. Apryl Webster, Rocky Boy A three-year starter for the Rocky Boy Morning Stars, senior point guard Apryl Webster has been part of a great girls basketball run at Rocky Boy. Webster has helped the Morning Stars to a 68 percent winning percentage in her three years starting at guard, and in that span, Rocky Boy has finished no worse than fourth in the District 9C regular season or 9C tournament. In her final year at Rocky Boy, Webster averaged 11 points and six assists per game for a youthful Rocky Boy team, and her experience and leadership was a big part of why Rocky Boy was able to win 15 games during its fi- nal season of Class C basketball. Kourtney Danreuther, Big Sandy Big Sandy senior Kourtney Danreuther has had plenty of success on the hardwood, and in just about any other sport she plays. The lightningfast guard has been part of one of the most successful runs in Big Sandy girls history, and she has left an indelible mark on Pioneer basketball. A three-year starter for the Pioneers, Danreuther averaged 11 points per game for her career and was one of the Pioneers' top offensive threats during her time on the court. This past season, one in which the Pioneers captured yet another 9C tournament title, Danreuther averaged 10 points and six rebounds per game on her way to all 9C honors. Danreuther is taking her track and field prowess to the University of Montana on a full scholarship. Fancie Boushie, HLP Although her teams have struggled in the always-tough District 9C, Hays- Lodge Pole senior Fancie Boushie has had a career to remember. Boushie was a four-year starter for the Thunderbirds and she averaged a remarkable double-double for her career, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds per game over her four years at HLP. This past season, Boushie earned all 9C honors after scoring 22 points per game and grabbing 11 rebounds per outing. The 5-11 inside-out threat also led HLP to a win in the 9C tournament last month in Havre. Sarah Blessum, Havre High A three-year starter for the Blue Ponies, and a four-year letter winner, Havre High senior Sarah Blessum has been an integral part of a remarkable HHS run. In Blessum's tenure at HHS, the Ponies have had four winning seasons, finished fourth at the Class A state tournament twice and have been one of the most consistent teams in the Central A over that period. Individually, Blessum has been a great team player, sharing the ball, getting rebounds and playing stellar defense, all the while being one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference. In her final season at HHS, Blessum was close to averaging double figures while earning Central A All- Conference honors. Editors Note: The All Hi-Line Team was voted on by available area basketball coaches and members of the Havre Daily News sports staff. The selections for the team do not reflect the opinion of any single person and are based solely on votes received. The boys version is scheduled to appear in next Monday's Havre Daily News.