BILLINGS — Shayla Montague is a sharp shooter on the basketball court for Billings West. But the real kicker (pun intended) is that growing up, she nearly earned a black belt.
“Throughout my elementary years I did Taekwondo, actually,” Montague revealed. “Yeah, I did that. I almost got my black belt, but I didn’t finish.”
The coordination and balance are still paying off — just in another sport.
What she did finish a couple months ago was an outstanding high school hoops career. It has to be outstanding to reach finalist honors in Athlete of the Year voting as a single-sport athlete. In fact, Montague is this year’s only Midland Roundtable female nominee not from Billings Senior.
She’s tall and shoots it well from outside — so much so that Montague was one of the top 3-point shooters, not just in Class AA, but in Montana last season.
She earned some starting time four years ago as a freshman for the Bears, admitting it was tough, thrilling and intimidating.
“All those things, yeah, all those things,” she recalled. “My first game, I just remember my first shot was an air ball because I was so nervous. And, obviously, being a freshman playing against older players, you get really intimidated.”
Montague will be in a freshman role again this fall at MSU Billings following the path of her mom, Krista (Fjelstad), and dad, Brent. Mom reached the Elite 8 in her prime and is now the school’s athletic director. Dad played on a Yellowjackets regional finals team and was recently named head girls basketball coach at Billings Skyview.
The Midland Roundtable will announce one male and one female winner from Billings during its Athlete of the Year banquet on Wednesday, May 15 at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.