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Skylights get one more Armory night

Northern women host their biggest rival on senior night

 

February 21, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern seniors, from left, Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne, Jacy Thompson and Kealani Sagapolu will be honored during tonight's final Skylight home game. The Skylights are set to battle the University of Providence Argos at 6 inside the Armory Gymnasium.

Senior night in the Armory Gymnasium is always a special night. And tonight will be no different as the four Montana State University-Northern Skylights will be honored.

The Skylights (2-12, 10-17) play their final home game of 2018 tonight when they host the University of Providence Argos (8-8, 17-10) at 6 in the Armory Gymnasium. And after the contest, it will be an emotional farewell for Jacy Thompson, Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne and Kealani Sagapolu.

"All four of our seniors have led by example, and they've been excellent to coach," Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. "On the floor, in the community, and on campus, they are great examples of what it means to be a student-athlete.  They are just a really special group.  I have been blessed to coach all four of them, and they will be missed dearly in the program.  They have given so much to me as people and as basketball players.  They are all pretty amazing, and I know that they will do impressive things in life."

Indeed, all four Northern seniors are unique, and special. But, collectively, they've also been a part of one of the greatest four-year runs in Northern women's history, including over 100 wins, three NAIA national tournament appearances and two Frontier Conference championship games.

Thompson, a former NAIA All-American and Frontier Defensive Player of the Year, saw her final season come to an end earlier this winter with a knee injury, but her legacy at Northern was already cemented. She's is in the 1,000-point club, and has achieved the highest levels of success a college player can. Sagapolu, who transferred to MSU-N last season, has also dealt with injuries, having missed much of last season with a knee injury. But in her final season as a Skylight she's been a steady inside presence, averaging seven points and six rebounds per game.

"Kealani has been awesome to coach," Mouat said.  "She is a great person and brings so much to our program.  Although undersized, she finds ways to get a lot done in the paint at both ends of the floor.  She had to deal with a very unfortunate injury last year and has just given us all she has. She battles so hard in the paint every night. She has definitely achieved a great deal during her time as a Skylight.

"Jacy has been a huge part of our program and has helped us do some very special things," he continued.  "She's got so much passion for the game, and an incredible will to win. She has literally done it all in her time here. Her awards and honors speak for themselves, and they were all hard-earned. She was a great defender - as good as I've ever had at Northern - and she also had the ability to explode for big nights offensively.  To see how much she was getting done on two bad knees says so much about her heart and desire to be successful."

Lambourne and Filius, too, have been very special to the Skylights, and to the town of Havre. Both chose to stay home and play collegiality in their hometown, so no question, tonight will be an emotional farewell for the duo that's averaging nearly 25 points per game together this season.

"Peyton has come a heck of a long way during her time as a Skylight," Mouat said. "She has developed into one of the best 3-point shooters in the conference this year, and she has drawn some very tough assignments on the defensive end night in and night out. She has simply upped her game in every way. Peyton is one of the hardest workers I've ever coached, and she's earned everything that has come her way.

"Brandy has also come a long way in four years," he added. "She stayed persistent and worked hard and has done some really good things while running the point guard spot. She has improved her game and her percentages reflect her improvement. She has also improved as a defender, and her communication on the floor has been really good, which is so important as a point guard."

Indeed. All four Skylights will be sorely missed when their time is over. But it's not over yet, and for one more night in the Armory they get to play in front of their hometown fans. Tonight's game between the Skylights and Argos tips at 6. The Northern seniors will be honored after the conclusion of the women's game.

 

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