Montana’s Best Girls Hoops Player Visits Flathead

By Beacon Staff

For those who are unfamiliar with Missoula Big Sky’s Joslyn Tinkle, Thursday night’s game against Glacier High in Kalispell would have been a fine introduction. Tinkle scored 32 points – the majority coming in the first half – despite sitting out almost all of the fourth quarter. It was the first time I’ve seen her in person, though I’ve followed her for years through newspapers and television clips. She is arguably the most highly recruited girls player to ever come out of Montana. In the fall, she signed with Stanford.

According to ESPN, Tinkle is the 10th best overall recruit in the nation. Remember, this counts every single girl who plays high school basketball of any size, anywhere in the country. At 6 feet 3 inches, she is listed by ESPN as the No. 5 post recruit. This year she is averaging nearly 28 points and 11 rebounds per game, but her numbers would be substantially higher if she didn’t regularly sit out the final quarter for the undefeated Eagles (8-0). Big Sky is the Class AA defending state champion.

Tinkle is the daughter of the University of Montana’s head men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, who is a good coach and a good guy. Her younger sister, 6-foot Elleson, also plays for the Eagles and is becoming a fine player in her own right as a freshman. Elleson and Joslyn’s mother, Lisa, played Division-I basketball, according to an article published by ESPN. So yes, there’s a bit of basketball in the family blood.

Before deciding on Stanford, Tinkle was heavily recruited by other elite Division-I schools like Duke, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. Watching her on Thursday night, I could understand the widespread interest. Tinkle is an excellent rebounder and an even better scorer. One of her greatest strengths is her ability to finish. If she’s within 10 feet of the hoop, you can pretty much count the bucket, with or without a foul. On defense, she has a tendency to play even bigger than 6 feet 3.

With that said, I’m glad I was able to see her in person. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the Wolfpack: The final score was Big Sky 68, Glacier 32. If you see Missoula Big Sky on the schedule for your local girls basketball team, I’d recommend stopping on by. You may never see another player like Tinkle again – or at least until her sister’s a senior.