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Shooters shoot: Belt native Kolby Pimperton helps spark Providence to NAIA title game

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Mar 26, 2024

SIOUX CITY, IOWA — When the University of Providence women (27-8) take the court for the NAIA championship game on Tuesday night against Dordt (34-2) the starting lineup will consist mostly of out-of-state players. Head coach Bill Himmelberg has built a recruiting pipeline with club teams in the Pacific Northwest that has pushed the Argos into championship contention.

But this year’s run wouldn’t be possible without a spark from one Montana native who has a knack for elevating her game when her team needs her most.

Belt native Kolby Pimperton started, and scored 11 points in Monday night’s 58-53 semifinal win over Carroll (28-6), including nine points in the second quarter all from beyond the arc. She helped the Argos build a 10 point lead and hold off the Saints. Pimperton also hit two clutch free throws in the final minute of the game to help lift Providence to its first ever title game.

Pimperton averages 6.5 points per game and is second on the team with 44 made 3-pointers. She scored 14 points in the opening round of the NAIA tournament against Concordia.

“I'm so proud of her. She spent so much time during the summer working on her outside shot,” Himmelberg said. “I told her she needed to shoot it better. She was in the gym all that time, worked on her shot and I told her if she put on the time I had confidence in her. And she gets out there, knocks down shots when we need them.”

Pimperton had plenty of championship experience at Belt. The Huskies were a postseason staple under former head coach Jeff Graham who now coaches at Montana Tech. She started her college career at North Idaho College, but jumped at the chance to transfer to Providence and follow in the footsteps of her old sister Kerstyn to the Argos.

“Even from North Idaho it was a big jump. And it's just so competitive and I've learned throughout this time that defense is what gets me going. And I just got to work hard through that,” Pimperton said. “Watching my sister play in the Nationals, they didn't make it far. But it's great finally getting over that hump and just showing them that we're girls from a little town in Montana that can do it.”

And the support from her hometown has been integral to Kolby’s success in high school and now college.m

“It feels great. Everyone back home is watching on the TV. I know our small town has little bars and it's on the big screen there,” Pimperton said. “Our little community is cheering me on. I get texts all the time and they're just proud of me.”

While Pimperton is the only Montana native to get regular minutes for the Argos, there are several more who play an important role for the Argos.

“We’ve had lots of girls from Montana that have played great for us and she's one of them,” Himmelberg said. “A lot of our bench girls did a great job on the developmental squad and on the scout team helping us with all that stuff. Proud of all of them.”

Interestingly, Pimperton won’t be the only Montana Class C player on the floor in tonight’s championship game. Manhattan Christian product Eliana Kuperus is a junior forward for the Dordt Defenders.

The game tips off at 6 p.m. Mountain time on ESPN3 and ESPN+.