High School SportsHigh School Girls Basketball


Jefferson's MacKenzie Layng continues record-setting season, leads fourth-ranked Panthers into postseason

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 14, 2024

BOULDER — A future Providence track and field athlete, MacKenzie Layng decided to leave her mark in the basketball gym of Jefferson High one last time.

“I just wanted to leave everything I had out on this court," Layng said. "I’ve been in this gym since I could walk, so I just wanted to leave everything I had out on that court."

"I don't want to leave this Jefferson High School program," she added. "It's been a huge part of my life ever since I was little with my parents coaching, my grandparents coaching, it's a lot of emotions. I've grown up in this gym basically,"

The 5-foot-5 senior guard knocked down a new Jefferson school record 10 3-pointers en route to her 36 total points in the Panthers' 63-37 victory over visiting Manhattan Christian last week. Layng's effort broke the old record set by Amy Lewis in 1998.

“Even the atmosphere — like, varsity games are extremely loud, you can hardly think, so just being calm under pressure," Layng said of her performance.

The three-sport athlete made 10 of 19 attempts from behind the arc and shot 11 of 22 from the field. Layng also shot 100% from the free throw line, going 4 for 4, as her Panthers rolled to the win during Aubrey McMaster’s first Senior Night as the girls' varsity head coach.

“Home games are fun. I mean, the community of Boulder really shows out for the games. Honestly, (Jefferson’s) a basketball (and) football town, so game days are fun at home — for sure," said McMaster.

Though it was an emotional night, Layng and the entire community of Boulder will have high hopes for the Panthers, the fourth-ranked team in the MontanaSports.com Class B girls basketball power rankings, as they next head to the District 5B tournament.

“I was crying, that’s for sure," Layng said of her final home game. "It was, I don’t know, it didn’t feel real, that’s the only thing I can think of, but I love those guys and I love that they trust me with the ball and I love that my coaches trust me to shoot the ball."

The Panthers placed second at the state tournament in 2022 during Layng’s sophomore season, and the school's new 3-point record holder says her team is not finished.

“Were just gonna keep having fun and work really hard and just execute what our coaches want us to do," she said.

The Panthers have a first-round bye at the district tournament, which starts Thursday at the Manhattan Christian Events Center in Churchill. Jefferson will play the winner of Townsend and Three Forks in the semifinal round at 1 p.m. Friday.