HELENA – Jaedon Lieberg might be one of the best high school basketball players in Montana that nobody knows about.
He’s a prolific scorer, hitting the 30-point mark in five different games this season, including a 41-point explosion. The 18-year-old is averaging around 26 points per game, but most fans in the state likely haven’t heard of his exploits.
Lieberg plays for the Helena Home School Warriors in the Montana Christian Athletic Association.
“Being a home-school player, people can say, ‘Oh, I can put up 30, 40, 50 points at that level, because I play (Class AA).’ They say, ‘Since you play at such a low level, or a lower level, than I do, I can do the same thing you can,’” Lieberg said. “I just let it fuel me.”
Lieberg doesn’t pretend the MCAA poses the same competition as teams that compete in the Montana High School Association, but he said he’s laced his shoes up against players from the Class AA level and more than held his own. While he knows his game needs work, Lieberg is a solid player for the Warriors, doing a little bit of everything on the court.
At roughly 6-foot-2, he’s a decent shooter, but Lieberg’s strength is his ability to get to the basket and finish through contact. He tries to showcase his talents at summer camps and tournaments, hoping to earn the attention of a college coach.
“I’d like to play college ball, especially at Carroll College. That’s my goal, that’s my dream,” he said. “It’s really hard. There’s not a lot of publicity coming from a home-school kid. You’re local and homegrown. The way I can get seen, I guess, is by camps, going to camps and playing there and hopefully catching an eye or two.”
That’s the challenge of playing for a home-school team, but the lifestyle does have its advantages. Lieberg went to public school until sixth grade, but his parents then decided home schooling was a better option. Now, Lieberg has a more relaxed schedule than the average student, starting his day in mid-morning. He studies at home and takes classes at Helena College – algebra last semester and biology this winter and spring – to prepare himself to study in the medical field at college.
Right now, though, basketball is Lieberg’s passion. With the looser schedule, he can spend more time in the gym. If he’s not at home or Helena College, he’s likely getting shots up at Capital City Health Club.
“It’s really hard to find gyms. Since you’re home-schooled, you don’t have a home gym, an athletic place to go practice at,” Lieberg said. “We make it work. It’s a struggle, but it’s part of it, I guess.”
The Warriors, who finished second in the Western Conference, play their games at various gyms across Helena, occasionally playing at Carroll College, the site Lieberg hopes to call home in the future. For now, though, Lieberg and his team are focused on the present: the MCAA state tournament, which starts Thursday at Manhattan Christian in Churchill.
“I want the trophy,” Lieberg said. “I want first place, for sure. I just want to go to (Manhattan Christian) and just go all out. It’s my last year, so I can’t have any regrets.”
The Warriors play Billings Christian in the first round at 9 a.m. Thursday.