HAVRE – A former Hi-Line hoops star is happy to be back home. Hailey Nicholson transferred to Montana State-Northern from Montana last spring.
After missing some time with a leg injury, Nicholson has started the past six games for the Skylights and is returning to the form that made her one of the most highly sought-after women’s basketball recruits in the state coming out of Malta High School in 2016.
Nicholson played two seasons at Montana, starting 21 games over two years, averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds for the Griz as a sophomore. She enjoyed her time in Missoula, but there’s something about the allure of home that brought her back to the Hi-Line.
“I feel like I’m in high school again right now,” Nicholson said. “It’s kind of cool just seeing some old faces that I had in high school up there now, and it’s just encouraging. I like the support.”
Nicholson was a key contributor for an M-Ettes team that claimed the 2015 and 2016 Class B state championships. MSU-Northern coach Chris Mouat didn’t waste any time when she contacted him about transferring.
“She came to talk to me at the Hi-Line Invitational Tournament, and we had the paperwork done before she left,” Mouat said. “She’s a super athlete that we knew about, offered out of high school. She played on some amazing teams at Malta and was a part of that big tradition in Malta, so anytime you can get a kid from right down the road is huge and I think that shows in our fan support now, too.”
One of the biggest reasons Nicholson transferred to Northern was so she could play with her sister Jada Nicholson, a freshman forward for the Skylights.