MISSOULA — Missoula Sentinel's girls' basketball game against Helena last week had plenty of storylines.
It was a State AA finals rematch from the season before. Four Montana Lady Griz commits were on the floor. And it was a captivating game.
But for Kylie Frohlich — one of those Lady Griz commits — the game meant that much more.
Her "biggest fan" wasn't in the stands.
Just the day before, Frohlich attended her grandfather's funeral.
"Realizing he wasn't going to be there was hard," Frohlich said. "I was emotional before the game and after the game, not so much during the game. It was a nice release to go play basketball and get my mind on something else for a little bit."
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The 5-foot-11 Frohlich finished the game with eight points, six of which came in the first quarter.
Good as gold
Frohlich's won four state titles already.
Her Spartans won back-to-back chippers in volleyball in 2016 and 2017. Sentinel won its first title in school history in track in 2017 and as an individual, Frohlich took home gold in the javelin as a sophomore.
"Kylie has put in so much work that she just really deserves what she's gotten, whether it was academically or athletically,"Sentinel's basketball coach Karen Deden said. "You're talking about a kid who's one of the best volleyball players in the state. She's one of the best basketball players in the state. She's one of the best javelin throwers in the state.
"Whatever she does turns to gold."
It's true. Alongside the numerous state titles, Frohlich's trophy case is buckling at the seams and her high school career isn't over yet.
Three-time volleyball all-state selection, 2016 and 2017 volleyball Western AA Player of the Year, two-time basketball all-state selection, two-time all-state javelin thrower ...
The list goes on.
As a freshman, Frohlich earned a second-team all-conference nod for hoops and was honorable mention all-conference at middle blocker.
Her javelin personal best of 136-foot-3 is the second-best throw in Spartan school history.
But one thing's missing: a state basketball title.
The Spartans came up just short in 2017, falling to Helena in the state title game. Sentinel finished third in 2016 and lost a loser-out game at the tournament by one point in 2015.
"Last year we got it for volleyball and track and we were just missing basketball," Frohlich said. "This year we have a little bit of a target on our back, coming from our program and because we've been doing well. We definitely have a little bit of fire in us because we want it so bad and we're not going to walk away without one this year."
Next up: Lady Griz
When Sentinel's season ends, Frohlich's basketball career will still be far from over.
Frohlich committed to play for the Lady Griz back in June and signed her National Letter of Intent in November alongside fellow Spartan Jordyn Schweyen.
"I think it's great for us because we have so many more opportunities to play together before we even go to college," Frohlich said. "That's going to help us in the long run, just knowing how to work well with each other, how each other plays.
"It's just going to help us with our team bonding now and just getting focused on honing in our skills that we're going to be able to use for the next four, five years."
Besides being a Missoula native, Frohlich has another connection to the Lady Griz program.
Her aunt, Jill Frohlich, played for the Lady Griz under Robin Selvig from 1990-94.
"I'm super excited," Kylie said of playing for UM next year. "Just because of the fan base and all the people that come to the games. The crowd is always super energetic and I know they have a beautiful campus. I'm really just looking forward to the whole experience of it.
"Having watched the Lady Griz as I've grown up and now getting to be a part of the team and see what it's like and just compete at the next level."
But she's not getting ahead of herself. Frohlich has half the basketball season to go, as well as the entire track season.
She knows it's cliche, just she's just taking it "game by game" from here on out.
"It hasn't quite hit me yet," Frohlich said, adding that it hasn't hit her yet that volleyball is over. "I'm just trying to soak it all in because everyone tells you to make the most of it and that it's your last chance but then you never really realize it until it's over.
"Even though we're looking forward to state and that's our ultimate goal and we can't wait for it to get here, it is bittersweet because you don't want to miss out on all these games in between and all these chances to play with each other either."
Amie Just covers Griz football and is based in Missoula. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.