Best of Preps – Winter 2008

By Beacon Staff

BASKETBALL: Osweiler, Fierro Tower Above the Rest

These are Flathead County’s high school all-star basketball teams, as chosen by the Beacon. We’ve ignored class distinctions and conference limitations to round up what we feel would be the best squads to match up against any other all-star teams in the state. There’s a lot of talent in this county – if such a county vs. county tournament were to ever be played, we like our chances.

MVP: Brock Osweiler
, junior, Flathead, 6’8” forward/post, first team Class AA all state: Per game averages – 21 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 blocks, 1.8 steals

Osweiler is by most accounts the best high school player in the state and one of the best in Montana history. And he’s just a junior. Throughout high school, big-time Division I schools have watched him closely on the basketball court and football field.

Colt Idol, junior, Whitefish, 6’3” guard/forward, first team Class A all state: Per game averages – 22.1 points, 5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.6 steals

Idol is a shooter, jumper and scorer. Idol led the conference in scoring at 22.1 points per game. The lefty still has another year left at Whitefish and wants to play in college.

Chase Grilley, senior, Columbia Falls, 6’0” forward, first team Class A all state: Per game averages – 17.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.9 steals

Grilley is perhaps the most versatile player in Northwest Montana. Grilley led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks this season. He doesn’t plan to play in college.

Chase Fairbank, senior, Columbia Falls, 5’10” point guard, honorable mention all conference: Per game averages – 6 points, 4.1 assists, 1.8 steals

Fairbank doesn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he certainly runs the show when he’s on the court. Fairbank finished third in the conference in assists. He doesn’t plan to play college ball.

Ben Cutler, junior, Glacier, 5’11” guard, first team Class AA all state: Per game averages – 18.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.5 three-pointers made, 1.3 steals

Cutler led Class AA in three-pointers this season and finished third in scoring at 18.9 points per game. The junior hopes college ball will follow his senior season.

MVP: Alyssa Fierro
, senior, Bigfork, 6’2” post, first team Class A all state: Per game averages – 12.4 points, 9 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 47 field goal percentage

Fierro is that rare player who can score only eight points and still dominate a game with her defense and presence. She single-handedly changes opponents’ game plans. The senior plans to play in college.

Ashley Ferda
, senior, Whitefish, 5’6” guard, first team Class A all state: Per game averages – 15.8 points, 5.7 assists, 4.5 steals, 2.2 three-pointers made, 81.7 free-throw percentage

Ferda can score in bunches or run an offense and distribute the ball with the best of them. She’s dangerous on defense too. She will play at the University of Montana next year.

Emilee Hashley, junior, Glacier, 6’0” forward/post, first team Class AA all state: Per game averages – 12.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 45 field goal percentage

Hashley is a solid scorer and rebounder on the low blocks. She is the only junior in this starting five and looks to make Glacier a formidable opponent next year.

Kendalyn Habel, senior, Flathead, 5’7” guard/forward, first team Class AA all state: Per game averages – 19 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.2 steals, 76 free-throw percentage

Habel is one of the most explosive scorers in the state, coming in second in the state in scoring, including a 35-point effort in the state tourney against Butte. She plans to play college ball.

Meghan O’Connell, senior, Flathead, 5’7” point guard, first team all conference: Per game averages – 12 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.7 steals

O’Connell runs an offense as well as any point guard in the state. The two-sport star plans to play soccer at Carroll College and hopes basketball is in the mix there too.

All-Star Reserves: Jake Thiesen, senior guard, Flathead; Roland Benedict, senior guard, Bigfork; Shawn Watterud, senior guard/forward, Whitefish; Shay Smithwick-Hann, sophomore forward, Glacier

All-Star Reserves: Avery Vogel, senior point guard, Bigfork; Kate Klundt, junior guard/forward, Whitefish; Hattie Bowen, senior guard/forward, Bigfork; Kelsey Dewitt, sophomore post, Columbia Falls

WRESTLING: Another Record-Breaking Year for Flathead Grapplers

Flathead High School’s 2007-2008 wrestling team was as close to unbeatable as is possible in a competitive Class AA league.

After storming through the regular season undefeated as a team, the Braves broke their own records at the state tournament by scoring 410 points, finishing with 19 state placers and sending 10 wrestlers to the finals. The Braves produced five state champions, five runner-ups and four third-place finishers. This year’s state championship was Flathead’s third in a row, good enough to earn them a top 10 national ranking.

Tanner Beaman (130 pounds), Brian Ham (135), Tyler Wells (152), David Lau (160) and Luke Fischer (171) were the Braves’ five state champions. Their season records combined equal 210 wins, 18 losses.

The Flathead High wrestling program casts a big shadow, but two other county schools had their own success at the state tournament, with Columbia Falls and Glacier High each making strong showings. Whitefish had no state placers and Bigfork doesn’t have a wrestling program.

Glacier High, in its inaugural season, was a force to be reckoned with all year. Glacier’s grapplers were led by freshman standout Stormy Day, who placed fourth at state in the 125-pound weight class. Jordan Nelson came in sixth in the 130-pound weight class, while John Frandsen came in fifth in the 215-pound division.

Columbia Falls placed four wrestlers at this year’s Class A state tournament, including two second-place finishers: Kelly Houle in the 189-pound weight class and Cody Kolodejchuk in the 140-pound class. Senior Michael Hader finished third in the 152-pound class. Clayton Patterson was fourth in the 119-pound division.

SWIMMING: Glacier Swimmers Break Out in Inaugural Season

Phil Rempe
finished off an excellent junior season for Glacier High School by finishing in the top five at the state championships in two events: fourth in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:04.45 and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly at 55.26.

Seth Bumgarner wasn’t far behind his teammate Rempe at state in the 200-yard IM, finishing sixth with a time of 2:07.03. He also finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.14.

Jacob Berry of Flathead High School finished sixth in the state in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.19.

Brian Hoffman of Glacier placed at state in two different categories, coming in 11th in both the 200-yard freestyle at 1:59.06 and the 100-yard butterfly at 1:00.81.

Ali Grubb
of Flathead finished in the top six in two categories at state: fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.57 and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle at 58.61.

Ashley Judd of Flathead also had a good showing at state, finishing seventh in both the 200-yard freestyle at 2:06.02 and the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:12.46.

Claire Morison
of Glacier swam to a sixth-place finish at state in both the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:05.12 and the 100-yard butterfly at 1:04.41.

Kelsey Iblings of Glacier placed in two events at state, coming in 10th in the 100-yard freestyle at 1:00.04 and 12th in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:16.06.