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#MTTop25: 3-point specialists Alira Carpenter, Sonya Rogers lead 2000-09 all-decade team

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jun 26, 2020

(Editor's note: MTN Sports is re-publishing the original stories from the #MTTop25, which launched in 2017 to profile some of the great girls basketball players in Montana history. Every Friday, we will unveil ‘all-decade teams’ that include athletes not profiled in the #MTTop25 countdown. Thus, players like Jill Barta, who graduated from Fairfield in 2014, and Shannon (Cate) Schweyen, who starred at Billings Central and Montana before ultimately coaching the Lady Griz, will not be featured on their respective decade teams. Those players will be featured in the top 25, regardless of era. Our intention is not to revise history, so we're not going to change the order in which the players were featured. However, some articles will include updates to reflect the latest developments in a player's career. This story was originally published on July 14, 2017.)

No. 25 – Kayla Lambert, Brockton; No. 24 – Bobbi Knudsen, Malta; No. 23 – Kati Burrows, Bozeman; No. 22 – Lexie Nelson, Butte; No. 21 – Mandy Close, Bozeman.

The #MTTop25, a list looking back at some of the best female basketball players ever to grace the high school hardwood in Montana, began profiling athletes on July 10 with No. 25. The countdown will unveil the No. 1 girls basketball player in Montana history on Aug. 11.

Obviously, more than 25 great athletes have started their basketball careers in Montana, so we’re featuring honorable mention ‘all-decade’ teams every Friday. Players featured in the #MTTop25 will not be featured here – thus, Jill Barta was not included on the 2010-present all-decade team and Mandy Morales is not on the 2000-09 all-decade team.

The 2000-09 all-decade team features three athletes from Class C schools and two from Class A Lewistown.

Elly Bruursema, Reed Point-Rapelje

Bruursema helped lead Reed Point-Rapelje to the only two Class C state girls basketball championships in program history in 2005 and 2006, earning all-state honors all four years of her high school career. She left the Renegades ranked fifth on the Montana High School Association’s list of career scorers and had a fine career at Carroll College, where she was Frontier Conference’s co-freshman of the year in 2007 and followed that up with all-conference honors in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Alira Carpenter, Lewistown

Lewistown won back-to-back Class A state basketball championships in Carpenter’s junior and senior seasons when she was an all-state player for the Eagles. Carpenter averaged nearly 22 points per game as a high school senior but exploded once at Montana State Billings. She’s the Yellowjackets’ all-time leading scorer and the only player in program history to score 2,000 points.

(UPDATE: Alisha Breen has since surpassed Carpenter on MSUB's career scoring list. Breen scored 2,001 points from 2013-18.)

Sonya Rogers, Lewistown

After a standout career at Lewistown where she won consecutive Class A state basketball titles, Rogers enjoyed a stellar career in Missoula with the Montana Lady Griz. She averaged double-digit points per game over her final three seasons and finished her career 11th on the program’s career scoring list, racking up 1,320 points. Rogers made 48.6 percent of her 3-pointers during her junior season, which led the NCAA.

Rachel Semansky, Highwood

Semansky averaged 22.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.9 assists per game as a senior to help Highwood win its second consecutive Class C state championship. She was a three-time all-state selection at Highwood and two-time State C tournament MVP. At Montana State, Semansky was a three-time all-Big Sky Conference selection, finishing her Bobcats career with 1,351 points (ninth in program history) and 887 rebounds (second).

Dvera Tolbert, Hardin

Tolbert was a big-time player at Hardin, leaving the program as the school’s all-time leading scorer, according to a 2009 Billings Gazette article, which included Tolbert’s senior-year averages of 19.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. She was a Montana-Wyoming All-Star selection in 2007 and played the 2007-08 season at Montana, providing the Lady Griz with front-court depth. She scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in UM’s first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Vanderbilt.