BILLINGS — Maddie Albrecht said she and her twin sister Willa haven’t spent more than a couple days apart in their lives. Admittedly, Maddie said, the Billings West basketball standouts are ready to part ways.
And indeed they’ll do that. While Willa announced just before their senior basketball seasons started that she had signed with the University of Montana, Maddie announced Tuesday she’s signed with Lehigh University of the Patriot League.
Maddie signed with the Mountain Hawks a while ago, but she waited until she was admitted to the school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, before announcing. She found out Monday she’d been accepted.
“I think it’s a great academic opportunity,” said Maddie. “They have good engineering and biology programs, which I’m interested in both of those things.”
In her senior season, Maddie averaged 8.5 points per game for the offensively balanced Golden Bears, who were crowned co-champions of Class AA with Helena Capital when Montana’s state tournaments were canceled following the semifinal round due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Maddie also averaged team highs in rebounds (6.5 per game), steals (2.6) and blocks (1.0).
She’ll join a Lehigh program that had reached the Patriot League tournament semifinals and was looking for its first championship appearance since the 2014-15 season. Instead, much like other events around the country, the Patriot League tournament was called off before the semis could be played, leaving the Mountain Hawks with a 19-11 record. The team’s roster listed six seniors.
As for West’s co-championship, Maddie said it was a good way to go out, considering the alternative.
“In the moment it was definitely shocking and disappointing,” she said. “But, looking back on it, I think it’s probably one of the best ways it could have ended up. At least we got to get to the point where there could be co-champions as opposed to other places where there wasn’t even a tournament.”
Much like the twins' status physically, Willa and Maddie mirrored each other statistically throughout their careers at West. It was that way in track and field, too, where they typically finished one after the other in their events, like at last spring’s state meet. Maddie finished second in both the 100 and 200, with Willa close behind in both races in third place.
Starting next season, they’ll be putting their talents on the court in different parts of the country. While Willa will be in Missoula, Maddie will be 90 minutes from New York City or just an hour from Philadelphia or the Pocono Mountains.
“It’ll definitely be different to begin with, but it’s something both of us have wanted to do for a while,” Maddie said of the sisters taking different paths following high school. “We both knew that we wanted to go to college separately, so I guess you could say we’re excited.”
Maddie did confide that the sisters’ parents question their ability to get along without the other. But they’ll be fine, right?
“I mean, I think so,” Maddie answered with a laugh.