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Hi-Line Athlete Profile: Charles Porter, Northern Basketball

Lights' senior Charles Porter doing whatever it takes to help his team

 

November 9, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Charles Porter drives the ball during the Lights' home game with Mount Royal last month. Porter is in his second year with the Lights and has quickly become one of MSU-N's veteran leaders. Porter and the Lights are back in the Armory Saturday afternoon, hosting SAGU American Indian College.

While most people associate November with football, it also means that the local college basketball season is about to crank up, which is the case for the Montana State University-Northern Lights.

The Lights, who are 2-0 on the season, will play six games in the next two weeks, including a contest Saturday inside the Armory Gymnasium against SAGU American Indian College. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.

The Lights, who missed out on the NAIA National Tournament last season, despite a 21-11 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Frontier Conference play, have started fast in the 2017-18 season, beating both Mount Royal University 95-80 and Salish Kootenai College 103-73.

However, the most impressive performance early in the season for MSU-N, was an exhibition loss against Montana State University. The two teams met last Wednesday in Bozeman at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The Lights, who were massive underdogs in the exhibition, gave the Bobcats all they could handle before eventually losing 78-73.

One reason the Lights have had so much success early on, is the return of a number of key players from a season ago, including senior wing Charles Porter, who has played an average of around 20 minutes per game so far this season. He had four points in the win over Mount Royal and six in the loss to Montana State. However, Porter, a versatile player, who is originally from Las Vegas, contributes in more ways than just scoring.

The 6-2 guard is a solid defender and ball handler. He played in 30 games for the Lights a season ago, starting two, and in that time he averaged 14 minutes per game. Yet with his 14 minutes a night, Porter was highly productive, scoring 5.6 points and grabbing 2.1 rebounds per game. He also shot 54 percent from the field, while also ending up fourth on the team in steals.

Porter, who transferred to Northern from Umpqua Community College in Oregon, came to the Lights with a high pedigree. In high school, he was a First-Team All-Conference player, before earning All-Region honors during his final season at Umpqua, when he averaged 19 points a game.

As a team, the Lights averaged 77 points per game last year, but had only one player, Ryan Reeves, who scored in double figures, with an average of 10.1 per game. Porter was sixth on the team in scoring last season but was one of 10 players who averaged at least five points.

Northern figures to have a balanced scoring attack again this season, but more importantly, it will look to build on a defense that allowed just 61 points a game to opponents last season and will be critical to its hopes contending in the Frontier Conference.

The Lights won't open conference play until Dec. 1 against Rocky Mountain College, giving them a few weeks to fine tune some things. That process continues Saturday against SAGU. But before Porter and Lights take on the Warriors this weekend, the Havre Daily News caught up with the senior for five questions.

HDN: So how did you wind up at Northern?

Porter: "Mostly because of Coach Huse. There were a few different schools that were interested in me, but he was the most consistent. He was always checking in with me and everything, so I stuck with him."

HDN: What was it like for you guys to play and almost beat a Division One program in Montana State?

Porter: "It was a really great experience for us. We went down there and showed what we can do this year. We can compete with anybody and the sky's the limit. It's still disappointing that we didn't win because we felt like we should have had it. We were going back and forth with a Division One. We definitely surprised them and we just needed a couple of more plays. But it was a good learning experience for everybody."

HDN: How much do you feel you can improve from last season as a scorer and all-around player?

Porter: "For me, I am not really worried too much about scoring. I think that will come and I will score a little more, but my focus is getting my teammates involved and helping them get going. The only thing that I really care about is winning, so whatever is takes to do that. The rest will take care of itself."

HDN: What have you enjoyed the most about playing for Northern these past two years?

Porter: "The crowd and how much the community and the fans support you here. The community is just really great, they come out and support you, no matter what you do. It's always a packed house and you are always getting love."

HDN: You guys missed the national tournament a season ago, is that the goal this season, along with trying to win the Frontier?

Porter: "Yes. I think that we have a chance this year and that's our main focus. We want to try and get that ring. I think that we have some really great team chemistry, so I really feel like we are capable of accomplishing a lot."

 

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