HELEN – Carroll’s women’s basketball team continued to bolster their recruiting class of 2022 on Sunday, signing Boise High School guard Ava Oakland.
âI’m super excited,â Oakland said. âI always grew up in Montana and my grandparents live here. Coming to Montana to go to college with a great team. The girls are all super sweet and I know I’m going to have a blast four years here.
Oakland’s grandparents live in Great Falls and own a cabin at Seeley Lake, providing plenty of opportunities to visit and fall in love with the area growing up. Now, having chosen to attend Carroll, Oakland has provided a short drive for his family to watch them play.
âI grew up to really love Montana and really appreciate it, so when I got the opportunity to go to college here I knew it was going to be right for me,â Oakland said. âJust having family here is super important. I know my grandparents will still be able to drive barely an hour and a half to go to my games. Having that support is going to be great.
Oakland said she contacted Carroll over the summer. From there, and with some of Rachelle Sayers’ connections at Boise High, a relationship developed between Oakland and the Saints and ultimately led to an official visit and the offer of a scholarship.
âI love her size, she has a great length,â Sayers said of Oakland. âI think she can play position three or four for us. She can really shoot it. Something that really excites us is his work ethic. It’s a child who arrives at six in the morning before school and gets shot. Just a perfect fit for Carroll academically, the type of kid she is and then the player she’s going to beâ¦
âShe’s playing for a great coach at Boise High. A coach who has taken it to the next level and understands what it takes to be successful as a college basketball player and student-athlete. I think she’s going to be one of those players who comes in and has a little edge over other freshmen who haven’t had that kind of coaching and mentoring.
Kim Brydges, who is approaching two decades as Boise’s head coach, played at Boise State when Sayers was a star at Weber State. Brydges is involved in both club and high school basketball in the Boise area, according to Sayers, and was a key factor in bringing Oakland to Carroll.
Oakland is listed at 5 feet 11 inches. She has helped her team make three consecutive appearances in state tournaments as a four-year-old college player. As a senior, Oakland is averaging 11 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. She shoots almost 60% from the field and 47% from 3 points.
âI had the opportunity in high school to be a goalie,â Oakland said. âI am a tall guard who has a lot of length. I can play defense in almost any position and can shoot from behind the arc pretty well. To be a great goalkeeper, I have good attacking skills and the length to finish in different positions.
Sayers that with current players like Dani Wagner, Emma Madsen and Christine Denny set to leave the program after this year, it’s essential to add a good-sized guard who can play forward as well.
Oakland is the second 2022 signatory for the Boise area. Kaylee Little, who attends Bishop Kelly High School, signed with the Saints in September. Maddie Geritz, a junior redshirt currently on Carroll’s roster, is also from Boise, Idaho, and attended high school in Borah.
âIt’s really nice to have people on the list coming from Boise, kind of that hometown feeling,â Oakland said. âWe can figure that out, so it will be good. “
Oakland is Carroll’s seventh rookie for next year, joining Little, Sadie Filius, Clare Converse, Elliot Hencz, Danica Lerch and Meagan Karstetter.
âWe are preparing for a year where we could lose between two and eight players, depending on which kids decide to take an extra year and which ones decide to take their regular fifth year,â Sayers said. âFor me, it’s important to have children ready if and when this happens. Have children who have been in the program, who have been in training, who have been in matches or games, and who understand what it takes to be successful here.
Oakland said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study at Carroll, but leaned towards nursing.
Danica Lerch and Meagan Karstetter
Both from Washington state and listed at 6ft 2in, Lerch and Karstetter are among Carroll’s most recent engagements, deciding to don purple and gold in recent weeks.
Karstetter is from Moses Lake High School and has an older brother who is currently a freshman on the Idaho State basketball team.
âMeagan comes from a family of basketball players,â Sayers said. âShe has good feet and a good height and is a left-handed player at the low post. She is strong and can score inside and out. She is very good with her back to the basket and will only get better. We are really excited about his future here at Carroll.
Lerch comes to Carroll from Richland High School.
âDanica is a raw, athletic, long forward,â Sayers said. âWe are very excited about his potential and his athleticism. It brings speed, length and athleticism. We are delighted to see her grow up as a basketball player and very happy that she chose Carroll. “
Carroll is currently 11-2 this season and is expected to be back in action on December 20 against Menlo College at the Cactus Classic in Mesa, Ariz.