By Bruce Sayler
Future Montana Grizzlies Rollie Worster of Missoula Hellgate of and Jamie Pickens of Helena High topped the voting for their respective State Class AA high school basketball tournament teams, chosen in vote of media reporting on the tourney held Thursday through Saturday in the Butte Civic Center.
The voting was conducted by Butte Sports in conjunction with Lowell Peterson of Montana AA Stats. Because of ties in the voting, 11 players were placed on each team.
Worster was picked the MVP of the boys’ tournament and Pickens was the unanimous MVP choice in the girls’ tournament.
Worster scored 26 points in the championship game Saturday night where Bozeman tipped Missoula Hellgate 55-53 in overtime. The 6-foot-3 junior, already a commit to UM, cashed in seven 3-pointers in trying to rally the Knights back to victory. He averaged 24.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game in the tourney while totaling 12 baskets from 3-point range.
Bozeman 6-6 senior Ryan Lonergan, on his way to play football for Montana State, was the runner-up in the all-tournament voting. The honor team also included champion Hawks Carter Ash, Ryan Simpson and Brett Clark, who scored the winning basket at the overtime buzzer, Hellgate’s Abe Johnson, and Jesse Owens, Cade Tyson and Josh Erbacher, all of third-place Billings West; and Blake Thelen and Kyle Torgerson of Great Falls High.
Worster, Lonergan, Owens, Thelen and Ash formed the first five.
Pickens, recently named the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year for girls’ basketball for the second consecutive year was the unanimous selection as MVP of the girls’ tournament. The 6-2 senior, signed with Montana’s Lady Griz, led Helena High to its third consecutive state Class AA championship in a 55-37 victory over Billings West Saturday night. The Bengals are the third team in Montana Class AA girls’ basketball victory to chain three straight state titles.
Pickens scored 18 points and yanked down 17 rebounds in the championship game. She averaged a double-double — 19 points and 12 rebounds for the tournament.
Bailee Sayler, a 6-0 freshman for Missoula Hellgate, which placed third in the tournament, was the runner-up in the voting. The Knights were playing in the AA state tournament for the first time since placing second in 2003, before most of the current Hellgate players were born.
Pickens’ fellow Bengals named to the team were Vanessa Walsh and twin sisters Payton and Paige Aasved. Runner-up Billings West put four players on the team also in twins TyLee and TyRaa Manuel, Shayla Montague and Willa Albrecht. Emma Blakely of Hellgate and Dani Bartsch of Capital rounded out the team.
Pickens, Sayler, TyLee Manuel, Walsh and Montague made up the first team. Pickens was selected as co-MVP of the 2018 state tournament.
Butte High seniors Ally Cleverly, Brittney Tierney and Aspen Lovshin all received honorable mention.
State Class AA Boys All-Tournament
First Team — (MVP) Rollie Worster, Missoula Hellgate, 6-3, junior; Ryan Lonergan, Bozeman, 6-6, senior; Jesse Owens, Billings West, 5-9, senior; Blake Thelen, Great Falls High, 6-4, senior; Carter Ash, Bozeman, 5-10, junior.
Second Team — Cade Tyson, Billings West, 5-9, junior; Abe Johnson, Missoula Hellgate, 6-8, junior; Ryan Simpson, Bozeman, 6-5, senior; Brett Clark, Bozeman, 6-3, junior; Kyle Torgerson, Great Falls High, 5-11, senior; Josh Erbacher, Billings West, 6-2, junior.
Honorable mention — Dylan Holst, Missoula Hellgate; Drew Wyman, Great Falls HIgh, sophomore; Bridger Grovom, Helena Capital; Connor Murgel, Helena High; Alex Johnson, Helena High; Bridger Deden, Missoula Hellgate; Julius Mims, Billings Skyview; Jashon Mendoza, Bozeman; Pierce Brown, Helena Capital; Tony Frohlich-Fair, Missoula Sentinel; Fisher Richardson, Missoula Hellgate; Alex Germer, Missoula Sentinel.
State Class AA Girls All-Tournament
First Team — (MVP) Jamie Pickens, Helena High, 6-2, senior. Bailee Sayler, Missoula Hellgate, 6-0, freshman; TyLee Manuel, Billings West, 6-1, senior; Vanessa Walsh, Helena High, 5-9, senior; Shayla Montague, Billings West, 5-11, senior.
Second team — Payton Aasved, Helena High, 5-7, senior; Paige Aasved, Helena High, 5-7, senior; TyRaa Manuel, Billings West, 5-10, senior; Emma Blakely, Missoula Hellgate, 5-7, senior; Willa Albrecht, Billings West, 6-0, junior; Dani Bartsch, Helena Capital, 6-1, sophomore.
Honorable mention — Ally Cleverly, Butte High; Sydney Sheridan, Helena Capital; Brittney Tierney, Butte High; Nicole Ames, Helena Capital; Maddie Albrecht, Billings West; Emily Kidder, Helena Capital; Paige Bartsch, Helena Capital; Perry Paffhausen, Missoula Hellgate; Addie Heaphy, Missoula Hellgate; Kali Gulick, Kalispell Glacier; Aspen Lovshin, Butte High; Raley Shirey, Kalispell Glacier.