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Lights' basketball adds four new signees, including Chinook standout

The last few weeks have been busy for Montana State University-Northern head coach Shawn Huse and the Light’s basketball program. Huse announced the signing of three new players, including local standout Jackson Nordboe of Chinook.

Nordboe had offers to play at the next level from other schools, but he ultimately chose Northern because: "There is a lot of history and foundation there. My two aunts played for Northern (one basketball and one volleyball), and (I) hear stories about Coach Mouat carrying me around at Skylights practice,” Nordboe said. "I've never missed a Summer League program, and had an opportunity to play for Coach Huse during some travel ball as a kid," Nordboe continued. "As long as I remember, I wanted to be a Light, and couldn't be more excited."

  Nordboe is a multi-sport athlete, excelling at football and basketball. On the hardwood, the 6-4 big man was one of two seniors to help usher in a new wave of Sugarbeeter boys basketball players. He averaged 14.6 points a game and 7.3 rebounds per contest in his final season wearing the Chinook uniform, which saw him named the Tom Kezar team MVP in addition to leading the team in blocks and free throw shooting. After a regular season of struggles as a team, he helped galvanized his Sugarbeeters to postseason upsets of Rocky Boy and Cut Bank as Chinook was able to qualify for Divisionals. On the gridiron, he starred at wide receiver and was also named "Homecoming King".

  "Jackson is a guy who has always been around our program whenever he can be … during the season, and in the off-season at our Summer League and camps,” Huse said. ”His passion for Northern has made him a great prospect to add to the room. His work ethic is well above the norm and I am confident he will be pushing his teammates each and every day.

"It will be fun to have him working and interacting alongside the guys each and every day at all the things we do in basketball, on campus, and in the community," Huse continued. "He just fits here at Northern and we are very excited to have him join our group!”

Nordboe is joined by Fairview standout Jeff Tjelde, who Huse also announced last week. The 6-5 forward averaged 18 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5 assists while leading the Warriors to a State B Runners-Up finish.  For his efforts, he was named First Team All-State this year and First Team All-Conference for the second year in a row.

  "Jeff possesses excellent shooting accuracy from the perimeter," said Coach Huse.  "He has a great build for a college basketball player already, has shown solid shot-blocking capability, is a tough defender, and rebounds very well.  His ceiling is very high and as good as he has performed so far, his full potential is still pretty untapped.  He continued to develop and excel and do more things the deeper the season went this year.  From everything I have seen and learned, he is just now coming into his own and I look forward to seeing what he is fully capable of."

  An all-around athlete, Jeff helped the football team win the 8-man State Championship this year as the starting quarterback and safety, and has become a big track performer posting impressive numbers this Spring.  On top of it all, he is an exceptional student in the classroom.  He plans to pursue the Civil Engineering Technology degree at Northern, while potentially studying other Trades fields as well.

  "Jeff is an outstanding all-around person," added Huse.  "We are getting a quality student-athlete at Northern by him signing on with us.  I have been nothing short of impressed the more I have gotten to know about him throughout the recruiting process. Getting the opportunity to work with him, and watch our guys work with him, on a daily basis is something I am really looking forward to.  We are very excited to have Jeff on board with our squad right now and into the future.”

Finally, the Lights also added Cinque Maxwell, a 6-2 shooting guard from Washington. An outstanding student and leader at Skagit Valley CC this year, the Cardinal reached the NWAC Final Four with a record of 26-6.  In his one season there, he averaged 10.6 points per game while shooting 53.6 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from the three-point line, and had a season high 20 markers in the Cardinals Final 4 game.  

An important performer on both ends of the floor, he previously played at Curtis High School helping them earn back-to-back 4A State Titles in 2022 and 2023.  The 2023 team also earned a spot in the National Invitational in Washington DC.  While at Curtis, Cinque was named 1st Team All-South Puget Sound, and in his career scored 1,024 points … averaging 12.9 per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, and 1.3 steals per game.

  A great leader both on and off the court, Cinque is an outstanding student in the classroom.  Having done the Running Start program his senior year of high school, he is earning his AA degree in just one year of Community College.  At Northern, he will be earning his Business degree primarily, while looking to also work on his Integrated Health Science degree.

  "Cinque is another guy whom we love to have in the room,” Huse said. “I would describe him as extremely coachable and someone that knows basketball and school and everyday life all go hand in hand.  I truly believe his best work on the court lies ahead.  His leadership ability, high level of character, remarkable speed, athleticism, skills, and attention to detail are the attributes that have helped him help his teams be successful in the past … and are traits needed to consistently win 4-year conference games and more.”

Most recently, Huse announced the signing of 6-5 Forward/Guard Raefe McEnroe of Honolulu, Hawaii.  A versatile all-around player, he helped the Everett Trojans reach the Elite 8 in the NWAC tournament this season, averaging 13.9 points on 53.5 percent Field Goal shooting, 42 percent from the 3-point line, and 70 percent from the charity stripe.  An athletic, tough defender, he also averaged 8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season.

  Raefe's progress continued to gain momentum after coming off a significant injury, followed by a long yet successful surgery and rehab process. 

"What a lot of people do not know is he was still on the mend clear up until several games into the season last year," commented Huse.  "Once he got his full confidence and strength back, he played lights out.  He is a great athlete who plays efficient, winning basketball.  Not to mention, he is a great teammate and a high character guy off the court.  This signing was big for us and we are very excited he chose to be in a Northern uniform moving forward.”


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