Caidin Hill

Caidin Hill, left, dribbles the ball during Manhattan Christian’s state Class C semifinal game against Scobey in Missoula.

Manhattan Christian’s boys were a prolific three-point shooting team this past season and set a handful of all-class state records in the process.

Most notably was the individual performance of Sam Leep during a conference game in late January. The senior guard set a single game record with 14 3’s en route to scoring a career-high 44 points in a 63-point rout of West Yellowstone.

The Eagles tied a single game record with 22 makes from behind the arc in that contest, and went on to break Montana High School Association state records for attempts in a season (726) and makes (248) in a season.

Sam Leep

Manhattan Christian senior Sam Leep set a single game state record for 3-point goals this past season.

While the defending State C champions embraced an up tempo style of play, breaking records was never at the forefront. In fact, it wasn’t until that West Yellowstone game when head coach Jeff Bellach began to realize something special was happening.

“It wasn’t something that I started really looking at until actually the West game when Sam hit all those threes. Then we started taking a look at it,” he said. “Obviously we had a lot of kids that put in a lot of time and can shoot the ball, and we kind of went all in on the run and gun game.”

Christian rode its perimeter shooting to a sixth consecutive state tournament and reached the semifinals for a fourth straight year during a 24-3 campaign. Leep, along with fellow senior Josiah Amunrud and junior Caidin Hill, formed a sturdy foundation and guided a fairly young team back to the postseason.

Leep and Amunrud averaged 19.9 and 16.3 points per game, respectively, while Hill averaged 8.1 points and dished out 233 assists. The trio earned All-State honors in District 11C for their efforts.

“We worked for fast break threes and driving kick threes from Caidin,” said Bellach. “Caidin does such a good job of creating that shot for people and he’s such a great passer, and that’s part of it too. It takes that to get that, and he was great at facilitating to guys like Josiah and Sam.”

The Eagles averaged 9.5 3-point makes per game, led by 89 from Leep. He shot 44.5 percent from behind the arc, and the single game record of 14 against West Yelloswstone eclipsed the mark of 13 set by Ronan’s Matt Luedtke in 2000, according to the MHSA record book.

Amunrud shot 35.6 percent from behind the arc (69 of 194) and 45.3 percent from the field.

“They (Amunrud and Leep) put in a lot of time to be able to shoot like that,” said Bellach. “To be able to reward them with opportunities is fun and awesome. Hopefully they get to keep doing that.”

Josiah Amunrud

Manhattan Christian’s Josiah Amunrud attempts a 3-pointer during the state Class C tournament in Missoula.

As well as the Eagles shot from beyond the arc, Bellach acknowledged the lack of an inside presence cost the team at the state tournament in losses to Scobey and Twin Bridges.

“Looking back, when we came up against Scobey and Twin, the lack of an inside post presence on both ends of the floor, it stood out a little bit. And it wasn’t that we didn’t have kids that were capable, but I feel like we got away from establishing a back to the basket player a little bit,” he said. “That was something the past few years we were able to get some easy buckets that way and we were able to occupy some space inside.”

Three members of the Eagles’ girls team, which Bellach also coaches, earned All-State honors as well. Christian reached state for the first time in a decade to cap a 22-6 campaign.

Eliana Kuperus led the team with 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, while Kiersten Van Kirk averaged 11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Taylor DeVries contributed 6.3 points, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.

Boys District 11C

First Team All-Conference

Sam Leep, Manhattan Christian, Sr*; Caidin Hill, Manhattan Christian, Jr*; Josiah Amunrud, Manhattan Christian, Sr*; Elijah Byrd, Gardiner, Sr*; Luke Stermitz, Gardiner, Sr*; Aidan Jenkins, Shields Valley, Jr.

*Denotes All-State Selection

Second Team All-Conference

Mac Hauck, West Yellowstone, Sr; Sam Davis, White Sulphur Springs, Soph; Frankie Starz, Lone Peak, Sr; Parker Young, West Yellowstone, Sr; Jackson Bredenberg, Gardiner, Sr; Alex Novark, White Sulphur Springs, Soph.

Girls District 11C

First Team All-Conference

Kiersten Van Kirk, Manhattan Christian, Soph*; Eliana Kuperus, Manhattan Chrsitian, Jr*; Danna Ochoa, West Yellowstone, Sr; Sophia Darr, Gardiner, Frosh*; Taylor DeVries, Manhattan Christian, Jr*; Jaeli Jenkins, Shields Valley, Frosh.

*Denotes All-State Selection

Second Team All-Conference

Rebekah Everest, West Yellowstone, Sr; Alexis McDonald, Gardiner, Jr; Maddie Cone, Lone Peak, Frosh; Averi Parker, West Yellowstone, Sr; Emmie Collins, West Yellowstone, Soph; Josie Thomas, Gardiner, Jr.