(Editor’s note: Carroll College athletics release)
HELENA — The Carroll College Fighting Saints women’s basketball team landed another impressive signee over the weekend.
Coach Rachelle Sayers announced the signing of local standout Kamden Hilborn, who will transfer from Montana State after competing in basketball and track and field for the Bobcats last season.
“The only word that describes Kamden above anything else is winner,” Sayers said. “Everything she has done, she’s been extremely successful whether it was soccer or basketball or pole vaulting at Helena High. She flat out wins. I love her energy and passion. She’s going to make her teammates better. She’s going to bring energy to both ends of her floor.”
A 5-foot-7 guard and pole vaulter, Hilborn is a decorated athlete after her remarkable career at Helena High. She will play basketball and compete in track and field for the Saints.
“I’m very thankful that coach Sayers has given me the opportunity to come home and play for such an outstanding program,” Hilborn said. “I’m super excited for this new journey and cannot wait to be a Saint.”
She was honored as the Independent Record’s High School Girls Athlete of the Year in 2017-18 for her successes on the pitch, hardwood and on the track. She was a part of five state championships while with the Bengals: two in soccer, two in basketball and a pole vault championship. She was a nine-time all-state selection during high school.
On the hardwood for the Bengals, she became a co-MVP of the Montana AA State Tournament due in part to her 22 points in the championship game. Hilborn led the state in assists and steals during her senior and junior seasons.
At Montana State, she played in 26 games as a true freshman. While with the ‘Cats, she had career-highs of 25 minutes, eight points, four assists and three steals.
“She’s a great blend of athleticism and speed that really will complement Jaidyn (Lyman) and Sienna (Swannack),” Sayers said. “Those three kids up on the ball, pressuring, pushing the ball down the floor in transition, I think we have a chance to be one of the most athletic teams we’ve ever had here.”
It’s a sweet homecoming for Hilborn, who not only gets to play back in front of family and friends in her hometown, but she also gets to further her family’s legacy at Carroll College. Her father Bryan is enshrined in Carroll College’s Hall of Fame after his standout career on the gridiron and her older brother, Gunnar, closed out a strong pole vaulting career with a 15th place finish at nationals.
Sayers, like most coaches in the state, had her eye on Hilborn while she was in high school. Hilborn chose MSU, but maintained a positive relationship with CC.
Though Carroll wasn’t necessarily looking for another guard this late in the recruiting process, when Hilborn announced she would transfer from MSU, the Saints were excited to welcome her.
“We definitely were not recruiting another guard but again when you have an opportunity to bring in a player to your team that will make you better and will make her teammates better, you hope your team will embrace that,” Sayers said. “This is a team sport and we want to be the best team we can be.”
Hilborn becomes the second NCAA Division-I transfer the Saints have swooped up this spring. Carroll signed Boise State transfer and Bozeman native Emerald Toth in April.
“She’s going to bring excitement,” Sayers said. “She’s going to bring more fans to these games. She’s a hometown hero. I think this will be huge for her. She’ll realize how much this community supports her and loves to watch her play.”
Carroll College women’s basketball 2019 recruiting class
(Name, height, position, last school, hometown)
Kamden Hilborn, 5-foot-7, guard, Montana State, Clancy, Montana
Emerald Toth, 6-foot-1, forward, Boise State, Bozeman, Montana
Kyle Olson, 5-foot-7, guard, Three Forks High, Three Forks, Montana
Rakiah Grende, 5-foot-8, guard, Bigfork, Montana
Erica Nissan, 5-foot-7, guard, Mead High, Spokane, Washington
Kirsten Koehnke, 5-foot-5 guard, Salem Academy, Salem, Oregon
Genesis Wilkinson, 5-foot-11, forward, East Valley High, Spokane, Washington
Ally Cleverly, 5-foot-6, guard, Butte High, Butte, Montana