This time of year most prep athletes are gearing up for the start of the spring sports seasons. But before track, softball, and tennis get too far into their schedules, standout basketball players are still competing on the hardwood at tournaments all over the state.
The annual Hi-Line Invitational Tournament returns to the Montana State University-Northern campus this weekend. Several area standouts, both boys and girls, will play at the 28th annual HIT at the Armory Gymnasium Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Both the Northern Lights and Skylights programs host the annual tournament that brings in all-star lineups from the Class C, Class B, Class A and Class AA ranks. Athletes come from all over the state to participate in the HIT, but the rosters also include several local standouts. The three days of action also include a 3-point contest Friday and the always much-anticipated dunk contest Saturday evening. The girls consolation game will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by the boys consolation game at 3:30. The girls championship game will also be played at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night, followed by the boys chipper at 7 p.m.
Last year the Class A boys took fourth, the Class C took third, and the Class AA defeated the Class B 93-90 in the championship game. The Class A girls also took fourth, the Class C took third, and the Class B defeated the Class AA 71-61 for the title.
Complete rosters are still in the works and are subject to change leading up to Thursday’s action.
But as fans gear up to watch a little more basketball this weekend, it is clear that some of the state’s best talent will be in attendance. Greats like Josh Huestis, currently playing at Stanford, and Jill Barta, slated to play at Gonzaga next season, have taken the court in years past. And as another group of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors take the floor this weekend; local basketball fanatics could be in store for some more top tier talent.
Havre’s very own Peyton Filius and Brandy Lambourne will help lead the Class A girls team, bringing in All-State talent at the guard position, and a newly won Class A state title.
Havre’s Dane Warp will also be around this weekend to help lead the Class A boys team. The Class A boys’ roster is in the final stages, and will also bring in juniors Ty Morgan (Columbia Falls), Tyler Thompson (Laurel), Bridger Truett (Frenchtown), Zac Allen (Laurel) and seniors John Chapman (Frenchtown), George Hall (Browning), Troy Scott (Dillon) and Jared Trinastich (Columbia Falls) to be coached by Havre’s Curt Leeds.
The Class C boys are also set to bring in locals like Brandon The Boy, Clayton Morsette Jr., Lonnie Plain Bull and Randall Gardipee from Box Elder, and Zach Molyneaux from Chinook. Mike Seymour and Charlie Robinson will coach the squad that will also get minutes by Kevin Oberweiser (Drummond), Ty Martin (Geyser), Jacob Bakken (Wibaux) and Brayden Wacker (Melstone).
Belt coach Jeff Graham will also coach a standout group of Class C girls again this season. Senior Makhayla Farmer of Chinook will be joined by Katelin Smit (Simms-Augusta), Krissy Paske (Drummond), Kara Gerke (Belt), Katie Fetterer (Belt), Whitney Molina (Hinsdale), Britt Cooper (Harrison-Willow), Frankie Bignell (Drummond), and Hannah Dean (Gardiner).
The HIT action begins Thursday at 4 p.m. and will run through Saturday when championship action begins at 5:30 p.m. Overall, local fans can catch 16 games at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre.
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
12 p.m. - 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 (Boys and Girls)
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 Competition
5:30 p.m. - Championship Girls Game
7:00 p.m. - Championship Boys Game