Best of Preps – Winter 2009

By Beacon Staff

Click the image above or use the arrows to see this year’s all star picks.

There’s plenty of talent up in this neck of the woods, so choosing an all-star team isn’t easy. But for the second straight year, the Beacon has put together a group of Flathead County’s best basketball players that we believe could match up against any other county in the state, if such a contest were ever organized. So here it is: the 2008-2009 Flathead County All-Star Team for boys and girls.


Colt Idol, Sr., Whitefish, 6’3” forward, Class A all-state: 20.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 80 percent free throws, 48.7 percent field goals

Opposing coach Cary Finberg of Columbia Falls says there are shooters and then there are scorers. He calls Idol a true scorer. Idol possesses a combination of strength, explosive jumping ability and consistent outside shooting. He is a three-time Class A all-state selection, two-time conference scoring champ and the leading scorer in Whitefish school history. Idol will take his skills to Montana State University next year.

Ben Cutler, Sr., Glacier, 5’11” guard, Class AA all-state: 23.3 points, 2 steals, 42 made three-pointers, 72 percent free throws

Cutler has a lightning-quick first step and a knack for scoring from all angles. His greatest strength is his tenacity – he’s unfazed by missed shots. His scoring average was by far tops in the state and one of the best in the last decade in Class AA. His 42 made three-pointers were second best in the state. A two-time all-state selection, Cutler plans to play in college.

Mackey Nolan, Sr., Columbia Falls, 6’0” point guard, Class A all-state: 11.1 points, 5.5 assists, 50.3 percent field goals

Nolan, who led the conference in assists, knows how to run an offense. He makes good decisions, controls the game’s tempo and is selective about his shots. In leading Columbia Falls to a divisional championship and a runner-up finish at the Class A state tournament, Nolan elevated his game late in the season. He has a football scholarship as a punter to Montana State University.

Karl Ingram, Jr., Flathead, 6’3” forward/post, second team Western AA all-conference: 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 45.6 percent field goals, 70 percent free throws

Ingram uses his body well to shield defenders and is strong around the basket. He has a solid mid-range jump shot and good rebounding skills. He finished in the top six in the state in both scoring and rebounding for the young Braves. Only a junior, he has another year to solidify himself as one of the top big men in Class AA.

Shay Smithwick-Hann, Jr., Glacier, 6’4” post, Class AA all-state: 13.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 44.2 percent field goals

A force near the basket on both offense and defense, Smithwick-Hann was the heart of Glacier’s frontcourt. He is a good shot blocker who stays on his feet until the right moment. On offense, he can handle the ball and step outside to shoot the three-pointer. Look for Smithwick-Hann to be the go-to scorer next year. He is also one of the best quarterbacks in the state in football.

Reserves: Grant Getts, senior forward, Columbia Falls; Aaron Tkachyk, senior guard, Whitefish; Brock Boll, senior forward, Bigfork; George Sherwood, freshman forward, Flathead; Scott Taylor, senior post, Bigfork

Alyssa Ladenburg
, Sr., Columbia Falls, 5’6” point guard, Northwestern A first team all-conference: 9.5 point, 5.4 assists, 3.3 steals, 74.6 percent free throws. Ladenburg ran the show for the Northwestern A conference champion Wildkats. She’s as comfortable pushing the ball up the court as she is in the halfcourt set. An excellent passer and decision maker, Ladenburg led the conference in assists. She also finished in the top 10 in scoring and top five in steals. She plans to play at college, most likely in Montana.

Kate Klundt, Sr., Whitefish, 5’8” guard, Class A all-state: 19.4 points, 11 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 2.7 assists

Klundt led the conference in scoring and rebounding this year. Among her most impressive games was a 32-point outing in Whitefish’s come-from-behind win over Polson in the divisional tournament. Klundt, the cousin of former Bulldog standout Johanna Closson, is a scrappy player who has the rare ability to grab a rebound, dribble the length of the floor and then score. She plans to play at Whitworth University in Washington.

Roxy Thurman, Sr., Bigfork, 5’9” forward, Class A all-state: 14.1 points, 44.7 percent field goals, 3.9 steals, 2.8 assists

After Bigfork lost the core of its 2007-2008 divisional championship team, Thurman led the young Valkyries to yet another trip to state this season. Thurman is a vocal leader on the court with a propensity for hitting big shots. She’s an excellent defender, as she proved by leading the conference in steals. Also a star volleyball player, Thurman would like to play basketball in college.

Kayla DeWit, So., Columbia Falls, 6’0” forward/post, Class A all-state: 14 points, 10.3 rebounds, 46.4 percent field goals

The younger sister of junior Kelsey DeWit, also a star for the Wildkats, Kayla had a remarkable sophomore season. She is an accurate shooter from 15 feet and closer, as well as a solid low-post passer. Her rebounding prowess is beyond her years. With both DeWits returning next season, the defending conference champion Wildkats will be a force to be reckoned with again.

Emilee Hashley, Sr., Glacier, 6’0” post, Class AA all-state: 13.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 56.9 percent field goals, 3.1 steals

The daughter of MSU great and Glacier girls coach Doug Hashley, the younger Hashley has surely learned a few moves from her dad. Hashley is effective near the basket on offense and on the other side of the ball she is a great low-post, off-the-ball defender. She also finished as the second-best rebounder in the state. Also a track star and volleyball star, Hashley will play volleyball at Montana Tech.

Reserves: Mallery Knoll, sophomore guard, Bigfork; Kelsey DeWit, junior post, Columbia Falls; Lindsea Vaudt, senior forward, Glacier; Kelsey Hildal, senior point guard, Flathead; Kailey Fierro, junior post, Bigfork


Bryce Stacy completed a tremendous high school wrestling career for the Flathead Braves by winning the Class AA title in the 160-pound weight class. He was also state champ as a sophomore and finished second last year. Stacy plans to walk on to the football team at Montana State University.

Shawn Lau, a junior at Flathead, is another multiple state title winner. Lau won the 130-pound championship after finishing second at 112 last year. As a freshman, he was the state champion.

Ryan Thiel finished his Braves career with a state championship in the 152-pound weight class.

Tanner Beaman of Flathead earned second place in the 135-pound division, falling just short of back-to-back state titles. Last year, he was the 130-pound champion.

Tyler Thomas, another Brave, lost to Helena High’s Toby Erickson in the heavyweight championship for the second straight year.

Conner Thomas finished just behind his older brother Tyler in the heavyweight division, placing third.

Zach Reimnitz of Flathead placed third at state at 105 pounds.

Dan Jenkins of Flathead placed third at 140 pounds.

Caleb Allen-Schmid of Flathead placed third at 145 pounds.

Paul Streich of Flathead placed fourth at 215 pounds.

Larry Francis, a freshman at Glacier High School, placed second in the 152-pound division at Class AA state, losing to Flathead’s Thiel.

Shane St. Orange of Glacier placed fourth at 135 pounds.

Clayton Hamilton of Glacier placed fifth at 160 pounds.

Boyce Ballard of Glacier placed fifth at 189 pounds.

John Frandsen of Glacier placed fifth at 215 pounds.

Kelly Houle of Columbia Falls finished second at Class A state in the 215-pound class.

Sal Bacarro of Columbia Falls finished third in the 98-pound class.

Kaleb Prestegaard of Whitefish finished fifth at Class A state in the 152-pound division.


Philip Rempe capped off his impressive high school career by narrowly missing a state championship in the 50-yard butterfly. He finished with a time of 22.18 seconds, just behind the winner at 22.17 seconds. He also finished third in the 100-yard butterfly. He plans to swim in college.

Jacob Berry of Flathead finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle at state, turning in a time of 50.65. He also finished 10th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.21.

Kyle Brady of Glacier finished 10th in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.38. He also helped two relay teams to top-10 finishes.

Lars Thorderson was the top finisher from Flathead and Glacier in the 100-yard backstroke at state, placing ninth with a time of 1:04.75.

Claire Morison
, a senior at Glacier High School, participated in four events at the state swim meet, including three relays. In her individual event, the 100-yard butterfly, she finished seventh overall with a time of 1:03.55. She plans to swim in college.

Ashley Judd from Flathead finished seventh in the 200-yard freestyle, clocking in with a time of 2:05.31. She also finished eighth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:13.67.

Maxie Scroggs from Glacier placed 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at the state meet, finishing with a time of 1:07.53. She also helped her relay place eighth in the 400-yard freestyle.

Kelsey Iblings of Glacier finished in 11th place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:14.73. She also helped three different relay teams to top-10 finishes.

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