BUTTE — One of Butte’s most outstanding athletes made a unique college decision on Wednesday afternoon.
Butte Central guard Kloie Thatcher committed to play basketball at Rocky Mountain College. She is the fifth-oldest of seven siblings, and is the first to opt against heading up the hill to continue both her studies and athletic career at Montana Tech. Thatcher’s older sisters Alex and Hattie both suited up for Oredigger athletics and Hattie is the school’s all-time assists leader.
“It’s definitely a lot different, because all my family has went to Tech, but it’s kind of a new normal that we all have to react with,” Kloie said. “I think that’s what (my family) is trying to do.”
Although new, the whole family suited up in Battlin’ Bears gear as the point guard penned her commitment to Billings. Thatcher did consider both Tech and Montana Western, but a family connection helped lead her to the eastern half of the state.
“(Thatcher’s father) is one of my best, dear friends in this whole world,” said Rocky head coach Wes Keller. “Ever since I got the job at Rocky, I’ve been on him, basically saying Kloie’s got to play for me.
Keller, who is entering his fourth year, knows he is getting a premier talent from the state.
“Kloie has the ability to make everybody else around her better. I think she’s one of the top guards in the state,” he said. “I can’t remember too many guards that had the ability to pass and set her teammates up as well as (she) does.”
The senior has been stuffing the stat sheet this season for the Maroons, posting averages of 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3.0 steals through six games. Now that her major decision has been made, she will be much more relaxed and ready to improve her game on a team pushing for a second state title in three seasons.
“It’s going to be a load off, because I was stressing on where I wanted to go,” she explained. “Now that it’s done, I can just focus on my high school career and not really have to worry about if people are going to look at me or not my senior year.”
Thatcher and the Maroons take to the court next on Thursday in Dillon.