MISSOULA — Patrick Colberg is eagerly anticipating his chance to play in Missoula one final time.
The Missoula Hellgate grad played in two Montana state title basketball games and helped the Knights win the championship in his junior season. He also finished third in the state as an individual golfer during his senior year.
Now a senior forward at Carroll who has dealt with multiple injuries, Colberg will be playing for the final time in his hometown when the Saints visit the Griz for Sunday’s game at 7 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.
“It’s kind of surreal going back there just with how many games I’ve seen in that arena and now being able to play in it, that’s awesome,” Colberg said. “I definitely want to take advantage of this last one and enjoy it as much as I can.”
Colberg grew up a Montana basketball fan, attended Griz basketball games when he was young and was close with fellow Knight Tres Tinkle when Wayne Tinkle was the Grizzlies’ head coach. Both his parents attended Montana, and his dad, Brad Colberg, played freshman basketball at Montana in 1978-79.
As a freshman at Carroll, Colberg got to play in the Saints’ game at Montana, a 75-52 loss in which he scored three points on 1-of-2 shooting in six minutes.
He didn’t play in the 70-61 loss to Montana in 2015. He sat out of the game while dealing with some of the knee and ankle injuries that have plagued him over the years.
Carroll and Montana didn’t play last season, and this time around he said he's feeling healthy and ready to play.
“It was crazy being on the court my freshman year right out of high school,” Colberg said. “The previous year, I’d been watching the Griz play, and then being on the court was an awesome experience. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, not take it for granted. Being a senior now, I definitely will relish it even more.”
This season he’s averaging 4.6 points, two rebounds and one assist in five games. He uses a right hook and an occasional left hook down low and he can step outside to hit 3-pointers, with three makes on six attempts in 44 minutes.
“He could shoot it from his dorm room,” Carroll head coach Carson Cunningham quipped. “He doesn’t even need to come to the gym.”
At Carroll, Colberg has mainly come off the bench. He stepped up last season and played crucial minutes during conference play when forward Oliver Carr, a Bozeman grad, suffered an ACL injury and forward Match Burnham, who leads this year’s team with 12 3-pointers, broke his wrist, Cunningham said.
“He embraces his role, whatever it is, whether he’s leading the energy on the bench or coming in and giving us a big lift,” Cunningham said. “Even before (Carr and Burnham’s injuries) and since then, no matter the role, he’s energized.”
The Saints also feature three other Montana natives in addition to Colberg and Carr, a senior forward averaging 10.8 points.
Junior guard Matt Wyman, a Great Falls grad, is averaging 16.2 points per game. Sophomore guard Dane Warp, a Havre grad, is chipping 11.3 points. Junior guard Kyle Nickol, a Helena Capital grad, is adding 2.8 points.