GREAT FALLS — Great Falls High senior Brendan Howard was named the Montana Gatorade boys basketball Player of the Year on Monday, receiving the honor for a second straight year.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Howard as Montana’s best high school boys basketball player.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior forward led the Bison to a 16-7 record and the semifinals of the Class AA state tournament this past season. Howard averaged 24.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. A three-time first-team all-state selection, he was also named the USA TODAY’s ALL-USA Montana Player of the Year as a junior.

Howard is the all-time leading scorer at Great Falls High and in Class AA with 2,083 points. He became the first player in the classification to surpass the 2,000-point mark. A four-year starter, Howard never missed one of his team’s 95 games over his career.

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In addition to starring on the court, Howard is active in his community. A mentor for younger students, Howard has volunteered locally on behalf of a food pantry, the Salvation Army and youth sports programs.

Howard has maintained a 3.71 grade-point average in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Eastern Washington University this fall.

“Brendan Howard is such a relentless, hard-working and skilled basketball player,” said Drew Haws, head coach at Billings Senior High. “He is just a handful to deal with as an opposing coach.”

Two-time winner Howard joins Gatorade Montana Boys Basketball Players of the Year Tres Tinkle (2014-15 & 2013-14, Hellgate High School), Daine Muller (2012-13, Skyview High School), Danny Robison (2011-12, Billings West High School), Tanner Roderick (2010-11, Bozeman High School), Josh Huestis (2009-10 & 2008-09, C.M. Russell High School), Andy Garland (2007-08, Sentinel High School), and Derek Selvig (2006–07, Dawson County High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Howard is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March.