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Missoula Hellgate's Cam LaRance 'excited' for college basketball opportunity with Montana Tech

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Posted at 12:23 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 13:21:08-04

MISSOULA -- Cam LaRance emerged as one of the best scorers at the Class AA level as a junior at Missoula Big Sky High School.

Then, as a senior in 2019-20, LaRance transferred to Hellgate High and blossomed into an all-state selection as another lethal cog in what was a deadly Knights boys basketball team that finished 23-0.

Next year LaRance will once again don a new jersey but one he plans on wearing for the foreseeable future, as he made it official that he will be joining the Montana Tech men's basketball team in Butte beginning next season to continue his basketball career. The school announced his addition on Thursday.

"The past two years they've been on the upside of things," LaRance told MTN Sports. "The facility was super nice and I loved the campus. The coaches I get along with really well.

"I love the sound of it. It was definitely pretty stressful there for a couple of weeks figuring out what I wanted to do. It's pretty relieving."

The 6-foot-3 LaRance said Tech first made contact with him at the Western AA divisional tournament, which is where he met with head coach Adam Hiatt and assistant coach Derek Selvig. He said Montana Western and Montana State-Northern were other schools that reached out to him.

But after talking to the coaches as well as former Hellgate standouts Derrius Collins and Bridger Deden, both of whom suit up for Tech, LaRance knew he wanted Tech to be his next stop.

Making it to the college ranks achieves a goal for LaRance, who was hoping he could extend his basketball career past his time on the high school courts. Plus, his addition continues a nice pipeline Tech has going with Hellgate players.

"I am really excited for Cam and for Montana Tech," Hellgate coach Jeff Hays said. "Cam had a fantastic season because he is a hard worker, great teammate, and is an outstanding shooter that can score at all three levels. Cam has a high upside and I am happy that he has the opportunity to further his basketball career at the collegiate level."

As a junior at Big Sky, LaRance scored 18.1 points per game, which ranked second in Class AA behind his future Hellgate teammate Rollie Worster. But after transferring to Hellgate this year, LaRance's game seamlessly gelled with the Knights, who were coming off of a disappointing buzzer-beater loss in the 2019 state championship game to Bozeman.

LaRance averaged 15.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game in his senior year for the Knights. With all of its star power, Hellgate advanced to the Class AA state championship game for a second straight year before tournaments were canceled around Montana due to COVID-19. Hellgate was named co-state champions with Billings Skyview High.

LaRance, Worster and Abe Johnson all were named first-team all-state in the AA ranks. LaRance's commitment also puts him in the company of the other two as future college basketball players, as Worster is bound for Utah State and Johnson is committed to the United States Military Academy (Army).

"It was a pleasure playing alongside Abe Johnson and Rollie Worster and the players they are and just everyone else on the team," LaRance said. "I made a lot of friendships there I'll never forget with these guys. They just took me under their wing from the get-go when I transferred over.

"The type of basketball we played was super unselfish and was super fun and you can't really get sick of it when you're winning games and having fun with all of your friends."

LaRance felt his leadership grew this year as a senior. But he also praised Worster, saying a lot of that came from the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, along with that competitive edge.

"The player he is just makes everyone else want to be who he is and be the best we could be," LaRance said.

LaRance approached things as the new kid on the block with Hellgate and slowly eased himself in with the group and let team chemistry build. Now, he'll do something similar next season as he begins his college journey.

"I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do it," LaRance said. "Why not give it a chance and I've always loved the game of basketball so why not get another chance at another four years, you know?"

Tech also announced the signing of 6-3 guard Markieth Brown Jr., a transfer from Everett Community College. As a sophomore, Brown averaged 26.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, finishing his two years as the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,382 points.