Some of Montana's best high school boys basketball players will participate in the 16th annual Hi-Line Invitational Tournament Thursday through Saturday in Malta.
All four of the state's most valuable players will be in the tournament, led by local standouts Chris Cole of Harlem and Shawn Shambo of Hays-Lodge Pole. Browning star Mike Chavez and Bozeman's Nick Dissly will also be there.
The tournament has been extended to three days this year, instead of the normal two days, tournament organizer Babsie Bishop said.
The first session beings Thursday night at 5:30 with the Class C team taking on the team from Class B. Class B won the tournament in 2001. Following at 7 p.m., the Class A and AA squads will face off. The Class C team and Class AA team will meet in the final game of the night at 8:30.
Friday's session will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the Class A and Class B teams playing. The Class A team and Class C team will follow at 7. The Class AA team and Class B team will wrap up pool play at 8:30.
Saturday will be the big night with a three-point shootout and slam dunk contest starting off the night at 6. The consolation game will follow at 7 and the championship game is scheduled to begin at 8:30. Trophies will be awarded to the top teams.
Many college coaches will attend the event, including the University of Montana's Don Holst and Montana State University's Mick Durham.
Unlike any other tournament, the HIT is open to athletes from freshmen to seniors. Chavez is only the second player in the 16 years of the tournament to play in the HIT for four years. The first player was Keith Erickson of Poplar.
Chavez set a tournament record in 2000, scoring 51 points, grabbing 23 rebounds and dishing out 12 assists in the opening game against the Class B squad. Last year Chavez averaged 29.5 points per game, topped with a 37-point game and a 45-point game. Chavez played for Heart Butte in 1999-2001 and represented the Class C team. This year is the first year Chavez will represent Class A.
Chavez is one of two NCAA Division I recruits who will participate in the tournament. Chavez has signed to play for the University of Montana. The other Division I recruit is Wes Morales of Huntley Project. Morales signed to play for the Montana State Bobcats.
Also highlighted in the tournament is Leo Bullchild, who recently signed to play basketball for Montana State University-Northern. Other local players include Cole, Colby Fetter and Kevin Bigby of Harlem and Shambo of Hays-Lodge Pole.
The following are the teams and participants for the annual HIT Tournament to be held this weekend in Malta:
Tyler Graham, 6-foot-1, CMR; Jason Goodman, 6-foot-4, CMR; Eric Henkel, 6-foot-4, Missoula Sentinel; Casey Durham, 6-foot, Bozeman; Nick Dissly, 6-foot-4, Bozeman; Cameron Clark, 6-foot-6, Helena High; Davin Blixt, 6-foot, Helena High; Ryan Turcott, 6-foot, Helena Capital.
Coach: Tom Storm, Ulm.
General Manager: Roger Hatler, Cascade.
Dallas Leslie, 6-foot, Billings Central; Mike Chavez, 6-foot-6, Browning; Leo Bullchild, 6-foot-1, Browning; Zachary Pitts, 6-foot-1, Ronan; Nate Harris, 6-foot-3, Ronan; Matt Beckwith, 6-foot-7, Columbia Falls; Ken Herbst, 6-foot-6, Belgrade; Christos Andredakis, 6-foot-7, Butte Central.
Coach: Mark Beckwith, Columbia Falls.
General Manager: Kent Paulson, Whitefish.
Colby Fetter, 5-foot-10, Harlem; Chris Cole, 6-foot-4, Harlem; Kevin Bigby, 6-foot-4, Harlem; Wacy Weeks, 6-foot-5, Wolf Point; Durand Zoanni, 6-foot-4 Wolf Point; Wes Morales, 6-foot-4, Huntley Project; Cody Samulson, 6-foot-4, Broadus; Jeremy Brenden, 6-foot-3, Malta; Tyler Palmer, 6-foot-3, Fairfield; Derek Miller, 6-foot-6, Baker.
Coach: Mike Erickson, Montana State University-Northern
Clinton Roberts, 6-foot-3, Geyser; Carson Durr, 6-foot-4, Roberts; Dallas Howard, 6-foot-6, Frazer; Kyle Ryder, 6-foot-1, Froid; Eddie Hawley, 5-foot-10, Dodson; Shawn Shambo, 6-foot-1, Hays-Lodge Pole; Derik Johnson, 6-foot-4, Fairview; Tim Venhuizen, 6-foot-1, Manhattan Christian; Davy Iverson, 6-foot-7, Winnett; D.C. Egge, 6-foot-7, Lavina.
Coaches: Kelly Sullivan, Fairview and Pat Ryder, Froid.