HELENA — Several numbers come to mind regarding Helena High senior basketball player Jamie Pickens.
Among those is the number “10,” which is how many school basketball records Pickens owns. Also, the number “3,” for three consecutive state basketball championships and being selected three-time all-state.
The number “2” has to be in the mix, as well, since Helena's 6-foot-2 post is a two-time Montana Gatorade Player of the Year and a two-time Class AA Tournament MVP, while holding Bengals records for game double-doubles (points-rebounds).
And now, add another “2” to her portfolio, that being the two-time Independent Record Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“Jamie is a coach’s dream – she is naturally gifted, has a great work ethic, and most importantly, is an amazing role model for the younger generation,” Helena coach Eric Peterson said, after learning of Pickens’ second straight IR Player of the Year selection. “Every coach wishes they will have the opportunity to coach a player of Jam’s magnitude once in their career.
"Players like her don’t come around very often, and I will definitely cherish the time we had together.”
Pickens finished the year leading the state with 17.2 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, vaulting her past Amy Brooks (2000-2002) as the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
She also led Helena with 88 free throws, 84 steals, 54 blocked shots and a .502 field goal percentage, while ranking No. 2 in assists (47), 3-point field goals (32) and free-throw percentage (.687).
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When the Bengals capped off the season with a convincing 55-37 win over Bozeman – Pickens posted game highs of 18 points, 17 boards and four steals – to complete their three-peat, it brought the team's three-year combined record to 63-8 for an .887 winning percentage.
“Jamie is a great player but an even better teammate,” Helena junior teammate Emily Feller said. “She is very mentally strong and has a great attitude when she plays, being able to keep calm when things might not be going the way we’d like them to go. She is the hardest worker that I know and her knowledge of the game has really helped a lot.
“Being able to play with someone with Jamie’s talent has been a great opportunity ... I have learned so much from her these past three years.”
Among Pickens’ 10 career school records are 1,204 points, 852 rebounds, 417 field goals, 300 free throws and 43 double-doubles. Her season marks include 296 rebounds, 12.3 rebounds per game average, and 19 double-doubles.
She also just narrowly missed three Helena game records with 33 points (record is 34), 23 rebounds (record 25) and five 3-pointers (record six).
The versatile Pickens now owns seven all-state citations – three in basketball, and two each in volleyball and softball.
“There is no way I could have accomplished all I did without Coach P and the other coaches and my teammates,” Pickens said. “I have been so lucky to be with a great group of coaches and players throughout high school, they’re like family.
“I’m just so happy we could finish the way we did. It really was a dream ending to my high school career.”