TWIN BRIDGES – Kailee Oliverson grew up hearing the same cliché comments many high school-aged kids do — something along the lines of, “It goes by fast, don’t take it for granted.”
Like most, Oliverson laughed the advice off, certain the long school days, ensuing practices and stacks of papers and homework would drag on forever. Suddenly, only a month remains of Oliverson’s high school all-state basketball career with district tournaments tipping off this week across Montana.
“It’s just crazy to think it’s my senior year. We’re ready for the (tournaments), though,” Oliverson said.
Few senior athletes will graduate this year with a resume like Oliverson’s. The 2017 Montana Teenpreneur Challenge Winner is closing in on double-digit academic all-state selections, paired with the multiple volleyball, basketball and track and field all-state honors. Last year’s Class C high jump champion finds success off and on the playing fields, but it’s the latter she prefers.
2017 threw an extra challenge at the University of Nevada basketball commit. Oliverson missed four games due to concussion protocol, and though her team held its own in her absence, watching from the bench left her feeling helpless.
“It was awful. I just love being on the court, but it was so cool watching my teammates step up and fill my role and the roles they needed to step into,” she said. “But it was awful. I just love getting out there and playing.”
Oliverson just feels comfortable on the court, and it’s easy to see why. The versatile forward holds career averages of more than 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, two steals and nearly two assists per contest. Entering her final season, she had already scored 1,141 points and hauled in 541 rebounds, landing her multiple all-star appearances.
Size and skill made the 6-foot-3 Oliverson nearly impossible to stop around the basket, but extending her game the past couple seasons has given opponents nightmares, while prepping her for the college game next year.
“I would say my biggest strength right now is being able to shoot that outside shot, because I can open up the court more and I can shoot that shot or go down and post people up and make a move down there, too,” Oliverson said.
“I mean, you look at Kailee and her body type and you’re kind of like, ‘Man, she’s the wiry, tall (athlete),’” said former Twin Bridges and Montana State forward Peyton Ferris, who is currently playing overseas in Spain. “She has so much she can do with that frame … and she’s going to go into Nevada and get position-coach training. She’s only going to grow from there and become a huge asset to their team. Playing them in the past, I know they beat Montana State this year, but playing them in the past, I think that’s something that Nevada, she’s going to fill in that hole for the Wolfpack down there.”
AAU basketball also played a major role in Oliverson’s transformation into a multi-threat player. Her offseason included trips in and out of Montana, against the top competition the region had to offer.
“I played with a lot of good kids. I played with a really good post, Alyssia Vanderburg, she plays for Arlee,” Oliverson said of the fellow 1,000-point scorer. “And then Micalann McCrea plays for Ronan. I played with some really good girls from Idaho that were just amazing guards. They shot everything. They were all amazing people to play with that love the sport and who know how to play it well.”
Playing with athletes of that talent pushed Oliverson to improve her own game. She also admits to being extremely competitive, always wanting to win. It’s a trait that benefits the Falcons on the basketball courts, but it likely actually originated off the court.
“I’ll definitely be playing Xbox a lot,” Oliverson said of how she spends her free time. “I’m not the best at the shooting games, but my mom got me a lot of them (for Christmas) so I’ll be doing that in my free time and installing the new bass system in my car. You’ll be hearing me go down the road. I got the Evil Within, Call of Duty, Fallout 4 and I’ve been playing Minecraft a lot, too. I go online a lot. I play with my boyfriend, I play with my cousin and some of his friends. I play video games against everyone.”
It’s just one more way Oliverson piles up wins.