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Griz, Cats Basketball Stars Earn Preseason Honors

Griz, Cats Basketball Stars Earn Preseason Honors  (Keith Demolder / SWX)
Griz, Cats Basketball Stars Earn Preseason Honors (Keith Demolder / SWX)
Keith Demolder SWX
The Big Sky Conference announced their preseason all-conference basketball teams today and 5 Treasure State products were nominated to their respective teams. On the men’s side, Montana senior shooting guard Sayeed Pridgett and Montana State senior point guard Harald Frey joined fellow nominees Holland Woods (Portland State), Mason Peatling (Eastern Washington), Jacob Davison (Eastern Washington) and Jerrick Harding (Weber State). Pridgett, an All-Big Sky first-team member in 2018, exploded last season for 15.1 points and nearly 5 rebounds per game (including nearly 20 points per game over Montana’s final 14 regular season games). The Northern California native was a big part of last year’s Big Sky title team, but will now be a senior leader on a squad with a lot of new faces. Montana State’s Harald Frey, a second-team conference honoree last year, scored 17.2 points and dished 5.0 assists per game for the Bobcats. The former Big Sky freshman of the year finished last year among tops in MSU history in three-point field goals and assists, and could break those records in 2019. Speaking of 2019, Frey comes back to Bozeman after losing nearly all of his starting lineup (save Devin Kirby) and will have to integrate a collection of freshmen and transfers into the starting fold. In terms of the other names mentioned, two-time all-Big Sky first-teamer Jerrick Harding earned preseason MVP recognition for his 21.4-point, 1.7-steal-per-game season in 2018 (ranked among tops in the conference). As for the women’s side of the league, Montana boasts three selections including Grizzly senior point guard McKenzie Johnston and Bobcats Oliana Squires and North Dakota transfer Fallyn Freije. Ever since she was a freshman, Squires has been doing it all in the Cats back court. Last year she took it to another level, scoring 11.4 points, pulling down 3.5 boards and dishing out 3.8 assists per game, all the while shooting a 91.8 percent from the line—second best in the conference. The 2018 Big Sky third-teamer joins Freije who was voted as the conference’s preseason MVP after sitting out a year last year due to transfer rules. But along with Squires and Freije, former Big Sky honorable mention McKenzie Johnston led the Maroon and Silver last year to yet another playoff birth. She also led the team in scoring and passing—putting down 12.6 points and 4.1 assists per game in her third season with the program. Not to mention, the 1,000-point scorer pulled down 5.2 rebounds per game—again, among tops on the team. Along with nominations for Freije, Johnston and Squires, the conference nominated the collection of Portland State’s Kylie Jimenez, Sacramento State’s Kennedy Nicholas, Idaho State’s Estefania Ors and Idaho’s Gina Marxen.
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