By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – Two Lone Peak High School basketball players have been named to the All-State team, a first for both the Big Horn and Lady Big Horn programs.
Senior point guard Luisa Locker and senior guard Eddie Starz were voted to All-State, recognition bestowed to the top players in the Western C Division.
In addition, senior guard Dasha Bough was named First Team All-Conference, and junior post KP Hoffman was named Second Team All-Conference.
This is the fourth consecutive year Locker was chosen for an All-Conference award. All-Conference honors are voted on by coaches in the same district at the end of the regular season; All-State honors are given to the top 14 players in each division.
Lone Peak head coach Nubia Allen said Locker is a player with a high basketball IQ. She was a consistent scorer this past season and holds the school record for free throws made (307) and averaged 3.2 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
Locker is also a sharp ball-handler. “She has a killer crossover,” Allen said of the senior’s dribbling prowess. “She makes a lot of good defenders look not-so-good.”
This is the second time Bough earned All-Conference honors. She holds the school record for 3-pointers with 106 and career points with 1,038. Her determination and relentless commitment to winning made a strong impression on Allen, who’s coached the Lady Big Horns for the past three seasons.
“I’ve played basketball since I was 9 years old and I’ve never met someone who goes as hard as she does in every drill. She sets the tone,” Allen said. “She put everything on the line for me in practice and in games.”
Bough was named a team captain three seasons in a row, and Locker and Hoffman were also voted team captains for the 2016-2017 season.
Coming off a particularly strong postseason performance, Hoffman led the Lady Big Horns in scoring, averaging 11.2 points per game. She also led the team in rebounding, averaging 6.2 per game.
This is the first year Hoffman earned All-Conference honors. “She has improved so much this year and it’s all [due to] her work ethic,” Allen said. “She goes the extra mile to become better.” Allen said Hoffman would stay after practice for one-on-one coaching—part of her plan to play college basketball.
“I think if she keeps working at it, she’s going to reach that goal,” Allen said.
Starz, who was an undeniable—and virtually unstoppable—scoring phenomenon for the Big Horns, holds most of Lone Peak’s scoring records. Those records include most career points (1,334), points in a season (507), average points per game (23), and most points in a game (39).
This is the third time Starz has been recognized with All-Conference honors. “One of the goals [of Lone Peak’s basketball program] is to establish a culture, and it certainly isn’t something that happens overnight. I think we’ve had many players who’ve helped build that culture, but I think Eddie, without question, brought a mindset, a focus, and a desire to [succeed] to the program that gave some of the younger players something to look up to,” said Lone Peak head coach Al Malinowski.
Starz is headed to Helena this fall to play football for Carrol College. Barb Rooney, Starz’s mother, said the quarterback standout was recruited by three other college football programs. “He loves the state of Montana and loves [the Carroll] coaches, so I think he made a great choice,” Rooney said.
Malinowski is quick to point out that Starz’s strong performance on the basketball court this year was supported by the efforts of his teammates. “It’s an individual award, but it’s also a team award because if your team doesn’t play well and isn’t successful, [other coaches] don’t recognize individuals at the end of the season for that success.”
Malinowski said a couple of other players on the team were close to earning All-Conference honors. “It gives them something to shoot for next year,” Malinowski said. “There’s a tremendous amount of potential for the program, and really for Lone Peak athletics as a whole.”
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