Dani Bartsch

Dani Bartsch drives by a Missoula Hellgate defender earlier this season in the Bears Den in Helena. On Thursday, Bartsch was named Montana's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls basketball. 

The Helena Capital Bruins and the Bartsch twins continue to pick up awards, as Dani Bartsch was announced as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Montana for girls basketball on Thursday. 

Bartsch led the Bruins to a one-loss season in 2021 and a Class AA state championship, which was the second in a row for CHS, which also shared the state championship back in 2020 with Billings West.

The 6-foot-2 senior who is going to play for the Lady Griz, averaged 16.1 points and 11.1 rebounds during the regular season for Capital, while shooting 52 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range.

"It feels awesome and it's a relief that all my hard work paid off," Bartsch said. "I am very excited to be the first for Capital, but there have definitely been some girls that have deserved it in the past."

In addition to leading the state in rebounds and being second in scoring average, she was also fourth in assists (3.3) and 12th in steals (2.3).

On top of being a two-time Class AA All-State selection, Bartsch won the IR's All-Area Player of the Year award twice. She was also named the MVP of the Class AA 2021 state tournament, following Capital's victory over Missoula Hellgate in the state championship game. 

"Dani is a big-time playmaker," Capital head coach Katie Garcin-Forba said. "She's extremely competitive, her ability to play multiple positions and rebound make her a matchup challenge and made our team go these past few seasons. She's an excellent teammate, humble and incredibly hard-working. This is well-deserved."

While Dani is the first Capital girls basketball player to win the Gatorade Player of the Year Award, she's not the first Bartsch sister to do so, as Paige Bartsch, her twin sister, won Gatorade Player of the Year in volleyball back during the 2019-20 school year.

"I'm very happy to be able to say that I won one too," Dani said. "I think it's pretty cool to be able to say we both have one and especially in different sports. It is quite unique that that happens."  

It's also the fourth Gatorade Player of the Year award for Capital in the past three years. The Bruins have won the last three consecutive volleyball awards with Paige Bartsch and Audrey Hofer (twice) and now, Dani has done it in basketball.

"It's crazy that we have had four Gatorade Players of the Year the last three years with this group of seniors. Two sisters (Paige and Dani) winning it for their respective sports — that's pretty special." 

All three of Capital's Gatorade Players of the Year will be joining Division I programs next season. Hofer and Paige will play volleyball at Montana State and Boise State, respectively, while Dani will head to UM for hoops. 

The trio was also part of five state championships during their high school careers, with three in volleyball (2018-2020) and two in basketball. 

Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406

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