HAVRE — The community of Havre has always had a tight-knit family feel to it but for the MSU-Northern women’s basketball team, family quite literally is a huge part of the team.
Columbia Falls sisters Peyton and Ryley Kehr are two of head coach Chris Mouat’s best weapons, with Peyton leading the team averaging 15.7 points per game while her young sister is averaging almost 10. With Peyton being a senior and Ryley a sophomore, the dynamic duo are enjoying their last year together.
“I love it, it’s so much fun and honestly I think we play really good together and I’m just glad she came back for her COVID year to play with me one more time,” Ryley said.
With Peyton already having success and enjoying Havre the last five seasons, the recruiting process to get Ryley there fell on her shoulders.
“Before coach even really starting recruiting her, I was already recruiting her and saying ‘come visit me, come visit me’ and she already kind of liked it before coach started looking at her,” Peyton explained.
“There were other schools talking and we were just happy to be in the mix with her. I think once the state tournament was over, I had a pretty good feeling but you never know until you know,” Mouat added.
Alongside the two Columbia Falls natives is a third in senior Sydney Hovde, who transferred in from North Idaho College after her freshman year to reunite with her playing pal Peyton. The duo won a state championship together their senior year in 2017. Hovde currently leads the Frontier Conference in rebounds averaging 10.5 per game.
“I know Peyton wanted me to come back here so Peyton talked to her coach and it all just kind of worked out for the best,” Hovde said.
Hovde and the Kehr sisters are still navigating their way through this season with a 4-9 record but when the starting lineups are announced and three of the five starters being from Columbia Falls, it brings about a sense of pride.
“Yeah honestly, I love to hear it, we represent Columbia Falls well,” Ryley said. “I think it’s always fun to see three of the five starters from the same place.”
The Lights play Thursday, Jan. 6 on the road against Rocky Mountain College at 5 p.m.