MISSOULA — Former Kalispell Flathead Bravette Tiana Johnson was scoring buckets inside Dahlberg Arena just two weeks ago, but it wasn’t for the Montana Lady Griz or Montana State Bobcats. It was for Sacramento State.
“Growing up in Montana, I loved it,” said Johnson. “Still love it. I think it’s the best thing in the world.”
Johnson dominated the high school court at Flathead High from 2014-17. As a senior, she was named first-team all-conference and all-state, as well as Flathead's team MVP. Johnson was also selected to compete in the Montana-Wyoming All-Star series.
Now she’s averaging 12.8 points per game for Sac State.
Being in the Big Sky Conference, every year Johnson gets to come back home and play in front of her biggest fans.
“I have like 10 to 20 people there at the Lady Griz or the Montana State game, which is super fun because it's like I have all these people here who are out here to support me,” said Johnson.
In the two games against Montana, Johnson scored 23 combined points and almost led the Hornets to a comeback win in the first meeting.
Regardless of the outcome, the redshirt junior doesn’t have trouble finding motivation when she’s back in Missoula or Bozeman.
“I want to show up, I want to play a good game. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to do that, but I'm starting to not do that as much, but definitely hearing my name, saying from Kalispell, Montana, while I am in Montana is a pretty cool thing," she said.
Johnson and the rest of the Hornets have seven games remaining in the season to dig themselves out of the 1-12 start to conference play.
Sacramento State takes on Northern Colorado on Saturday.