Missoula Hellgate junior and University of Montana commit Rollie Worster has been named the USA Today Montana boys basketball player of the year. The publication released its all-USA state boys basketball teams on Tuesday.
Worster, who was named the state’s Gatorade player of the year in March, led Class AA in scoring at 22.2 points per game. He also averaged 5.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game for Hellgate, leading the Knights to a runner-up finish at the State AA tournament. Worster is the only junior on the first team.
Joining Worster on the first team is Ryan Lonergan of Class AA state champion Bozeman. Lonergan, who will be playing football for Montana State University in the fall, was a first-team all-state selection for the Hawks.
Ryan Simpson, Lonergan’s teammate at Bozeman, was also a first-team selection. Simpson, too, was a first-team all-state selection for the Hawks. Simpson will be playing football in the fall at the University of Montana.
Great Falls High’s Blake Thelen was also named to the first team after leading the Bison to the State AA tournament. Thelen shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and made 40 percent of his 3-point attempts en route to earning first-team all-state honors. Thelen will be playing football at Montana State University.
Manhattan Christian’s Caleb Bellach rounds out the first-team selections and is the only athlete outside of Class AA to be represented on either the first or second team. Bellach helped lead Manhattan Christian to the State C title, where he led the Eagles past two-time defending champion Arlee. He scored 42 points in the championship game en route to MVP honors. Bellach averaged 23.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game throughout the season. Bellach will play basketball at Montana State next year.
Bozeman head coach Wes Holmquist was tabbed as the Montana coach of the year after leading Bozeman to a thrilling Class AA state title in Butte. After three consecutive years finishing second at the State AA tournament, Holmquist and the Hawks won on a buzzer-beating shot in overtime.
The second team is headlined by Billings West’s Jesse Owens, who will be playing football at the University of Montana in the fall. Joining Owens on the second team are Great Falls High’s Kyle Torgerson, Missoula Hellgate’s Abe Johnson, Helena High’s Connor Murgel and Missoula Big Sky’s Camdyn LaRance.
Johnson and LaRance are the only two juniors on the second team, while Owens, Torgerson and Murgel are seniors. Torgerson will be playing football at Montana Tech in the fall and Murgel has committed to play basketball for Steve Keller at the University of Providence.
The complete USA Today all-USA Montana boys basketball teams can be found below.
Coach of the year: Wes Holmquist, Bozeman
First team: Rollie Worster, Missoula Hellgate; Ryan Lonergan, Bozeman; Ryan Simpson, Bozeman; Blake Thelen, Great Falls High; Caleb Bellach, Manhattan Christian.
Second team: Jesse Owens, Billings West; Kyle Torgerson, Great Falls High; Abe Johnson, Missoula Hellgate; Connor Murgel, Helena High; Camdyn LaRance, Missoula Big Sky.