With the basketball season coming to an end, local fans can still watch plenty of prep action with tournament season just getting underway.
And one of the top tournaments to display statewide talent is tipping off today through Saturday at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre. To
day at 4 p.m., the 26th Annual Hi-Line Invitational Tournament (HIT) will help display some of the states top talent from the Class A, AA, B and C.
At 4, the Class A girls will take on the Class AA girls, while following at 5:30 p.m., the Class A boys will face the Class AA boys. At 7 p.m. the Class C girls will face the Class B girls, and at 8:30 p.m. the Class C boys will take on the Class B boys.
The HIT will continue with six games on Friday, as well as a 3-point contest at 6 p.m. And Saturday brings six more games, as well as a dunk contest ate 5 p.m. The girls and boys consolation games will take place at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively, and the girls and boys championship games will take place at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.
Malta's Babsie Bishop started the tournament 26 years ago, and admisntered the tournament through last year. However, this year, Northern head coaches Chris Mouat and Shawn Huse will run the famed tournament. And this year’s talent should be as good as it has in years.
The AA girls will be coached by Taylor Keller and Jolene Fuzesy. Keller is a former MSU-N star and current MSU-N assistant coach, while Fuzesy was a high school standout at both Havre High and Malta, as well as an NAIA All-American at Carroll College. The AA anchored by a solid group of Great Falls athletes. Making up the roster will be Lexi Pyette, Katie Schermele, Kelsey Devlin and Markela Francis of Great Falls High, and Hannah Vining and Brandy Kumm of CMR. Brianna Robinson of Billings West and Brice Henning of Foothills Christian also join the talented group.
For the Class A girls, they are coached by Amber Griffith and Brett Mckee, and have a solid selection of athletes. Kacie McKeon and Brynne Kambich from Butte Central are joined by McCalle Feller of Lewistown, Riley Kenney from Polson and Lexi Prevost from Sidney. Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne of Havre High also add to the talented group made up of seniors and sophomores.
Wade Sundby coaches the Class B girls this season, and has a lot of depth to work with. Courtney Henry from Malta, Jacy Thompson from Broadwater County, Taylor Peck from Bigfork, Syd Steinbach from Fairfield, Alisha Breen from Choteau , Jordan Powers from Jefferson County, Mikala Osborne from Columbus, Kiernan Haggarty from Missoula Loyola and Jill Barta from Fairfield will look to lead the Class B squad.
The Class C girls will have another uphill battle this season, but have put together a strong team this year. Aricka Wolf Chief from Box Elder, Makhayla Farmer from Chinook, Shelby Lipp from North Star, Tiffany Kittelson from Fairview, Angie Crowder from Saco-Whitewater, Holly Croff from Belt, Peyton Ferris from Twin Bridges, Martha Dembek from Winnett-Grass Range, Kelsey Permann from Belt and Britanny Curl from Absarokee will look to make some noise under the guidance of Jeff Graham, who is a former Chester great and led the Belt Huskies to the Class C girls title earlier this month.
On the boys side of things, the Class AA boys come into the tournament with a small, but talented group of ball players. Coached by Shaun Tatarka, Matt Furman and Cooper Kidgell of Billings Skyview, Russ Morin and Joey Marzion of CMR, Dylan Tatarka of Great Falls High and R.J. LaValley of Missoula Big Sky look to dominate the field.
Havre High assistant coach Shaughn McKeon will coach the Class A boys, and they enter the tournament with a lot of depth, talent and size. Keegan McCarthy of Buute Central and Marcus Payne of Livingston will give any big man a run for their money. Wes Knox of Dillon will also join the roster, as will Logan Connor of Havre, Chevy Reed of Dillon, Riley Bradshaw of Corvallis, Jess Sims of Stevensville, Josiah Davis of Browning, Josh Shultz of Stevensville and Ryan Sullivan of Sidney.
Malta’s Kendall Denham will help lead the Class B boys, as will Zach Handley and Tucker Schye, also of Malta. But looking to compete, Quinn McQueary, Gavin Dejong and Tanner Hupka of Manhattan, Trace Brady of Fairfield, Aaron Ward of Florence-Carleton and Jackson Boese of Bigfork make up the rest of this weekend’s roster. The Class B boys will be coached by Moe Denham.
For the Class C boys, Jordy Donoven of North Star will look to keep his impressive numbers going, as he is joined by Jace Anderson of Saco-Whitewater, Paulo Giacomelli of Power, Chad Kananen of Winifred-Roy, Chance Muretta of Stanford-Geyser, Derky Pearsall of Centerville, Kyle Pederson of Power-Dutton-Brady and Dylan Woodhall of Stanford-Geyser. The Class C boys will be coached by Mike Seymour and Charlie Robinson.
This years’ HIT should be very well balanced on both the boys and girls side of things. Each and every team has a strong balance of guards and post players, where in years past, some teams may just one or the other, making hard to compete against the rest of the All-Star field. But with all eight teams housing high caliber talent across the board, local fans should be in store for three days of great basketball at the Gymnasium.
4:00 p.m. Class A Girls vs. Class AA Girls
5:30 p.m. Class A Boys vs. Class AA Boys
7:00 p.m. Class C Girls vs. Class B Girls
8:30 p.m. Class C Boys vs. Class B Boys
Noon Class C Girls vs. Class A Girls
1:30 p.m. Class C Boys vs. Class A Boys
3:00 p.m. Class B Girls vs. Class AA Girls
4:30 p.m. Class B Boys vs. Class AA Boys
6:00 p.m. 3-Point Contest
7:00 p.m. Class B Girls vs. Class A Girls
8:30 p.m. Class B Boys vs. Class A Boys
9:00 a.m. Class C Girls vs. Class AA Girls
10:30 a.m. Class C Boys vs. Class AA Boys
2:00 p.m. Consolation Girls Game
3:30 p.m. Consolation Boys Game
5:00 p.m. Slam Dunk Contest
5:30 p.m. Championship Girls Game
7:00 p.m. Championship Boys Game