When it comes to the voting for the annual Havre Daily News All Hi-Line Girls Basketball Team, choices can never be easy. There is, and always has been a plethora of great girls basketball players in the area, and the 2010-11 was no different.
This year’s team has nine newcomers and only three repeat performers. By grade, it’s also the most balanced list in the six years of the honor. Every grad is represented on the list with five seniors, four juniors, one sophomore and two freshman making the cut. The two freshman are the first two ever to make the annual team. There are also three schools with multiple standouts on the list, including Havre with three and Big Sandy and Chinook with two each.
Aricka Wolf Chief, Box Elder
One of just three repeat performers to the All Hi-Line Team, 5-5 Box Elder junior Aricka Wolf Chief has been on quite the run the last two seasons. Wolf Chief exploded onto the scene at the 2010 District 9C tournament and her play carried over to this season. Wolf Chief led the 9C in scoring and 3-point shooting on her way to helping the Bears to a 17-1 regular season record, a second-place finish at the 9C tournament and a second straight trip to the Northern C Tournament in Great Falls. Over the last two seasons, Wolf Chief has averaged over 20 points per game and shot better than 40 percent from three. She’s a two-time Class C All-State performer and will be considered one of the most explosive offensive players on the Hi-Line heading into her senior season.
Shelby Lipp, North Star
Consistency has been the key to North Star junior Shelby Lipp’s success over the last three years. A three-year starter at North Star, Lipp is making her second straight appearance on the All Hi-Line list, and she plays much bigger than her listed height of 5-8. Lipp has been a dominant post presence in the 9C, averaging a double-double the past two seasons. She’s a two-time all-conference performer and a Northern C All-State selection this season, and with one more basketball season left as a Knight, there’s even more big things to come.
Hannah Williams, Big Sandy
Big Sandy senior Hannah Williams (6-0) makes her second straight appearance on the All Hi-Line Team. Williams was a three-year starter and four-year varsity player for the Pioneers. She’s been the most dominant post player in the 9C for the last three seasons, and she has a career average of 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Williams is also an excellent shot blocker and a gifted athlete, who always was able to get out and run in Big Sandy’s fast-paced offense. Aside from earning all-conference honors three straight times, she’s also been a Class C All-State selection before and a standout volleyball player as well.
Paighton Gilman, Havre High
Blue Pony senior Paighton Gilman (5-11) really came on strong in the postseason of her junior year, as she helped HHS to an exciting Class A state tournament run in 2010. Gilman kept that pace up this season, averaging a team-high 11 points and eight rebounds on her way to Central A Second Team All-Conference honors. As she wrapped up her basketball career at Havre, she lettered three years in basketball, was a two-year starter for the Ponies and was Havre’s most dominant player in the paint for two straight seasons.
Maurvella Fuller, Harlem
The Harlem girls basketball team has experienced a resurgence the last two years, and this season, the Wildcats were stellar, making it to the always-tough Northern B Divisional. And while the Wildcats are stacked with talent, 5-7 senior Maurvella Fuller helped lead the way. Fuller was part of a balanced scoring attack for the Wildcats this season, but she not only was an outstanding outside shooter, but could post up and play inside. Averaging 14 points per game this season, Fuller earned District 2B All-Conference honors, but perhaps more importantly, has helped put Harlem girls hoops back on the map.
Taryn Norby, Chinook
Athletes don’t get much more well-rounded than 5-7 Chinook junior Taryn Norby. Already a three-year starter for the Sugarbeeters, she helped lead them to their first-ever 9C championship this past February in Havre. Norby averaged 15 points and five rebounds per game this season on her way to all-conference honors for the second straight year. And in Chinook’s most successful year of girls basketball in over a decade, Norby, who is also a standout volleyball and tennis player, earned Northern C All-State accolades.
Jaclyn Evans, Havre High
A two-year starter for the Havre Blue Ponies at point guard, sophomore Jaclyn Evans has been the model of consistency. She’s been an outstanding distributor of the basketball, as well as a good outside shooter. And this season, her second as a the starting point guard, she earned Central A Honorable Mention All-Conference, and she has shown that the Pony back court is in good hands for years to come.
Jenni Ghekiere, C/J-I
The All Hi-Line Team wouldn’t be complete without a standout from Chester/J-I, and this year’s list include 5-10 junior forward Jenni Ghekiere. Already a two-time District 10C All-Conference performer, Ghekiere led the Hawks in scoring and rebounding this season, and also helped them capture a second straight 10C championship. Ghekiere is also a highly-touted volleyball player and is one of the best all-around athletes on the Hi-Line heading into her senior season in Chester.
Anita Denny, HLP
It was quite the year for the Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds, and one big reason why they had so much success is senior Anita Denny. The 5-9 Denny, a three-year starter at HLP was the T-Birds leading scorer and rebounder on her way to 9C All-Conference honors. She was also the leading scorer in this year’s 9C tournament, where she averaged 22 points per game over the course of the three days in Havre, and as a result, she helped HLP to its best finish in nearly a decade.
Makhayla Farmer, Chinook
One of two freshman to make the All Hi-Line Team, Chinook center Makhayla Farmer served notice this season that the 9C has a new force in the middle. The 6-1 Farmer was right at home in Chinook’s starting lineup, and wound up averaging 13 points and nine rebounds per game in her first season of high school basketball. Farmer was also outstanding in her 9C tournament debut, and she helped the Beeters to a coveted 9C title and a trip to the Northern C Divisional in Great Falls.
Peyton Filius, Havre High
The second freshman to make the list is Blue Pony frosh guard Peyton Filius. Right away, the 5-7 Filius, who’s mom was a star basketball player at Northern Montana College, and who’s dad is the legendary head coach of the Havre High wrestling team, had an immediate impact on the Blue Pony lineup. She averaged eight points per game and started almost the entire season for the Ponies, and she is part of an exciting youth movement in Havre girls basketball.
Mackenzie Jenkins, Big Sandy
A three-year starter and two-time all-conference selection, Big Sandy senior Mackenzie Jenkins is the second Pioneer to crack the list this year. Jenkins has been a standout point guard for a long time in Big Sandy’s back court, and she is also a deadly 3-point shooter and a lightning quick guard who always helped the Pioneers’ fast-paced attack. Jenkins was also a standout volleyball player for Big Sandy during her career, and her leadership on the floor will certainly be missed.
Editor’s Note: The All Hi-Line Girls Team is voted on by available area coaches as well as members of the Havre Daily News sports staff. This list does not reflect the opinions of any single individual.