By Chris Parker
Billings girls basketball is aiming for a big season with first-team all-conference senior Bella Harter returning to lead the team.
“Bella Harter is a senior and will be a starter for her fourth straight year,” said Billings head coach Randy Towe. “She leads by example and can be vocal when needed. She is also an excellent student.”
Harter averaged a double-double with 22 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a junior. She also had 81 blocks and 52 steals in 26 games.
There is plenty of returning experience behind Harter in Paula Culver (senior), Aleya Dickison (senior), Ryleigh Gearing (junior) and Kenzie Clendenning (junior).
Towe on Culver: “Paula Culver has great experience with lots of speed and intelligence.”
Towe on Dickison: “Aleya Dickison is a defensive specialist playing harder than anyone.”
Towe on Gearing: “Ryleigh Gearing has gained valuable experience her first two years. She has become a good scorer and very physical.”
Towe on Clendenning: “Kenzie Clendenning has become a very efficient point guard with quickness and scoring ability.”
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Gearing was named honorable mention all-conference last season after she averaged 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Culver led the team in assists with 61 as a junior. Clendenning was the team’s second-leading scorer with 10.9 points per game. She led the team in steals with 59.
Newcomers to this year’s team include Lancey-Joe Bellamy (sophomore), Brooke Collison (sophomore), Kyla Essick (freshman) and Georgia Vesci (freshman).
Towe on Bellamy: “Lancey-Joe Bellamy is very athletic and should help in scoring.”
Towe on Collison: “Brooke Collison is a very physical player and should be an inside presence.”
Towe on Essick: “Kyla Essick is very athletic that plays very hard and should be a big part of our success.”
Towe on Vesci: “Georgia Vesci will give us depth at point guard. She sees the floor very well and is a good scorer.”
Billings will have good depth this year as the Wildcats look to cut down on turnovers. Last year, Billings turned the ball over 518 times in 26 games.
“Our depth and team speed should be our biggest strengths,” Towe said. “Based on last year, we will need to cut down on turnovers and shoot a better percentage.”
Billings opens the season Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 at the Everton Tournament.