HAVRE — Charna (Ophus) Seibert is the all-time leader in assists at MSU-Northern.
But now the Skylights Hall of Famer is the one who could use an assist.
Earlier this month while on a trip home to Big Sandy with her husband Jordan and 3-year-old son Marcellus, Seibert was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It’s considered incurable. But as is often the case when someone in Montana is in need, support came swiftly and from unexpected places.
Current MSU-Northern coach Chris Mouat first met Charna at her Hall of Fame induction ceremony while she was fighting her first bout of breast cancer in 2015.
“I visited with her before that,” Mouat said. “I watched her play coming up, so I’ve always been aware of her. I think Charna might be one of the most recognizable Skylights maybe ever.”
When he heard of her most recent struggle, Mouat came up with an idea to help. For $20, the Skylights are selling pieces of the old floor from the Armory Gymnasium, where Seibert starred from 1990-1993, with a decal that reads, “We’re Behind You #22”.
“We just wanted to do something. It’s a tough time for them. We just wanted to do whatever we can to help on our end,” Mouat said. “The wood floor from the original gym was there from 1957 to 2012. When that floor came up, I had quite a few pieces of wood that just happened to work out right to put this decal on, for Charna, just saying we’re behind you. All of it’s been done with Charna’s blessing and her approval, and that’s ultimately important to us.”
Mouat didn’t coach Seibert, but he’s always believed in honoring teams and players that came before his time in Havre. Seibert was the starting point guard on the 1993 NAIA Division II National Championship team at what was then known as Northern Montana College.
“She was a unique point guard for the time,” recalled Mouat. “A 6-foot point guard, you didn’t see many of those very often. And she played on just some amazing teams. Her assist record if you look at that, I don’t think it will be touched here. She was tough and she was feisty and that today is the most important thing, is she’s going to carry that feistiness and toughness into her current battle.”
But she certainly won’t fight this battle alone.
“If that just makes her day a little tiny bit better, then we’ve done something good,” Mouat said. “She’s meeting things head on, there’s no doubt about it, and she has a ton of support, especially in this part of Montana. And that’s been kind of overwhelming to see over the last couple days, but she’s got a great mindset, she’s a very faithful person and she’s going to just go after it 100 percent, and she’s got backing and people behind her to help her do that.”
If you’d like to purchase a piece of the Armory floor and contribute to Seibert’s medical fund, contact coach Mouat via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (406-265-3584). There’s also an account set up at Independence Bank with checks payable to the Charna Seibert Medical Benefit. The Skylights will also take donations in the mail at P.O. Box 7751 Havre, MT 59501.