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Capital sweeps Coach of the Year Awards in Western AA, Dani Bartsch gets more awards too

Capital sweeps Coach of the Year Awards in Western AA, Dani Bartsch gets more awards too


Helena Capital's Dani Bartsch drives past Billings West's Kendall Elllis for two points during the semifinals State AA Girls Basketball Tournament in Great Falls.

The honors and awards keep on coming for the Helena Capital girls basketball team as the Class AA All-State/All-Conference teams were released Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, Katie Garcin-Forba of Capital won the coach of the year award for girls basketball. She has now led the Bruins to back-to-back one-loss seasons that ended with Class AA state championships.

The Bruins shared the Class AA girls title with Billings West in 2020 and defeated Missoula Hellgate, as well as West and Billings Skyview, the other top four finishers, in succession to finish off their repeat.

The Bruins also placed two players on the Class AA All-State team including Western AA Offensive Player of the Year, Dani Bartsch. Dani was joined by her twin sister Paige Bartsch on the All-State team as both earned all-state honors for the second straight year. 

Dani was second in Class AA with 16.1 points per game and led the state in rebounds with 11.1 per game. Paige also averaged a double-double for the Bruins this season. 

Additionally, Mara McGinley, who averaged 2.5 3-pointers per game, also received Second-Team All-Conference honors in the Western AA. Jaymee Sheridan was honorable mention.

Dani Bartsch was also named MVP of the Class AA state tournament and was joined on the all-tournament team by Paige, as well as McGinley and Sheridan.

Helena High's Kylie Lantz also earned Second-Team All-Conference in the Western AA after averaging more than eight points and three rebounds during the regular season for the Bengals.

On the boys side of things, Capital also cleaned up as head coach Guy Almquist was named Western AA Boys Coach of the Year after leading his team to fourth place at the Class AA state tournament, despite losing four starters from 2020.

Junior Brayden Koch was a huge reason for the Bruins postseason success and he was named to the Class AA All-State team after averaging 18.6 points and shooting 43 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged three steals.

Koch was also named First-Team All-Conference in the Western AA, while his teammate, sophomore Hayden Opitz, earned Second-Team All-Conference after averaging 8.5 points and 5.1 rebounds during the season. Koch and Opitz both made the all-tournament team at state too.

Alex Germer and Beckett Arthur of Missoula Sentinel and Hellgate, respectively, were the Western AA boys Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. Brooke Stayner of Sentinel was the girls Defensive Player of the Year in the Western AA.

Joining the Bartsch twins on the girls all-state team were Brooke Berry, Macey Meyer, Taylee Chirrick, Bailee Sayler, Ellie Keller, Alison Harris, Stayner Alex Covill, Kaitlin Grossman, Breanna Williams and Lauren Lindseth. 

The boys all-state team includes Koch, Drew Wyman, Germer, Ky Kouba, Levi Torgerson, Cam Ketchum, Tony Frohlich-Fair, Arthur, Sanders and Josten Cripe. 

The full Western AA all-conference teams and all-state teams are listed below. 

Class AA All-State Girls: Dani Bartsch, Sr, Capital; Paige Bartsch, Sr, Capital; Brooke Berry, So, Skyview; Macy Meyer, Bozeman Sr; Taylee Chirrick, Fr, West; Bailee Sayler, Jr, Hellgate; Ellie Keller, Sr, Glacier; Alison Harris, Sr, Great Falls High; Brooke Stayner, jr, Sentinel; Alex Covill, So, Hellgate; Kaitlin Grossman, So, West; Breanna Williams, Fr; Skyview; Lauren Lindseth, Jr, CMR. 

Class AA Western AA Girls

First team: Dani Bartsch, Sr, Capital; Paige Bartsch, Sr, Capital; Bailee Sayler, Jr, Hellgate; Ellie Keller, Sr, Glacier; Alex Covill, So, Hellgate; Brooke Stayner, Jr, Sentinel. 

Second Team: Challis Westwater, Sr, Sentinel; Kylie Lantz, Sr, Helena; Addy Heaphy, Jr, Hellgate; Mara McGinley, Jr, Capital; Kenzie Williams, Sr, Glacier; KacKenzie Tufty Sr, Butte; Claire Converse, Jr, Flathead. 

Class AA All-State Boys: Brayden Koch, Jr, CHS; Drew Wyman, Sr, GFH; Alex Germer, Sr, Sentinel; Ky Kouba, Sr, Skyview, Levi Torgerson, Sr, GFH; Cam Ketchum, Sr, Skyview; Tony Frohlich-Fair, Sr, Sentinel, Beckett Arthur, Sr, Hellgate; Payton Sanders, Sr, Skyview; Josten Cripe, Jr, Flathead.

Western AA All-Conference

First Team: Brayden Koch, Jr, CHS; Alex Germer, Sr; Sentinel; Beckett Arthur, Sr, Hellgate; Josten Cripe, Jr, Flathead, Tony Frohlich-Fair, Sr, Sentinel.

Second Team: Josh Wade, Sr Hellgate; Jake Olson, Sr, Butte; Weston Price, Sr, Glacier; Hayden Opitz, Jr, CHS; Kade Olson, Sr, Big Sky; Billy Kelly, Sr, Butte. 

Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406


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