Malta's Sophia Stiles

Malta's Sophia Stiles (10) drives for the basket through Three Forks on Thursday during the Class B girls state basketball tournament at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

HANNAH POTES, Gazette Staff

For a second straight year, Malta's Sophia Stiles is the Gatorade Montana girls' basketball player of the year.

Stiles, who has signed with the University of Montana, played a key role as the M-ettes finished second at the State B girls' tournament in Billings last week. Malta was the two-time defending champion. 

Stiles is the second Gatorade Montana girls basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Malta High School. In 1995-96, forward Linda Cummings received the honor. 

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Stiles as Montana’s best high school girls' basketball player. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National girls' basketball player of the year award.

Stiles, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, pumped in 22 points for the M-ettes (24-2) in the championship game, a 34-33 setback to Fairfield. Stiles averaged 21.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 4.3 steals and 1.1 steals through 23 games. A three-time first-team All-State selection, Stiles was the MVP of the 2015 state tournament. 

A six-time State B champion with the Malta track and field team, Stiles has served on the Malta High student council as the secretary and vice president. She has volunteered locally with the Malta Food Bank and as a youth basketball camp counselor. “Sophia has the ability to make big plays over and over,” said Malta coach Nate Hammond. “She excels in big games, and her competitiveness and drive is the best I have ever coached and probably ever will.”

Stiles has maintained a weighted 3.86 GPA in the classroom. 

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