Editor's note: This is the third in a series honoring the 406mtsports.com girls and boys teams of the year, female and male athletes and overall school of the year. Next: Male athlete of the year.
HELENA — Helena High four-sport athlete Jamie Pickens could make a hobby out of collecting postseason accolades.
Pickens, by her performance on the basketball court, during her high school career, has accumulated honors such as two Gatorade Montana Basketball Player of the Year awards, all-USA Today Montana Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, ESPN Top 100, Helena High Donovan Award winner and Helena Independent Record Female Athlete of the Year. Now Pickens has added one more award to her resume — 406mtsports.com Female Athlete of the Year.
Between basketball, volleyball and softball, she has earned nine all-state honors. She added to her haul with a silver medal in the javelin at the Class AA state meet.
The University of Montana signee is a three-time all-stater and anchored a Helena team that won its third-consecutive Class AA title, scoring 18 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in the championship game. It's a sports cliche: you can't stop her, you can only hope to contain her.
For the majority of this past basketball season, Helena Capital teetered between No. 2 and 3 on the 406mtsports.com rankings, and couldn't topple its crosstown rival. Finding someone who could match up with Pickens was a contributing factor to the team's three consecutive losses, including a 36-28 defeat in the semifinals.
"I don't think you contain Jamie Pickens," Capital coach Katie Garcin-Forba said. "You try to limit her touches and contain the other players around her as much as you can. She's a heck of a player. We had to make sure we got stops on her and made sure (no one else on their team) got going."
Pickens further demonstrated her athletic prowess by trading softball this spring for the shot put, javelin and discus in track and field. She didn't disappoint. Her state throw in the javelin of 129 feet, 5 inches was enough to place second.
Pickens also excelled in softball and volleyball, where she was all-state twice in both sports.
Aside from her brief stint in track, Pickens is a statistical double take on the basketball floor after closing her career with 10 school records.
Pickens scored 1,204 points in her career, averaged 12.3 rebounds per contest and collected 19 double-doubles during the 2018-2019 season. She has a school-record 43 double-doubles in her career and passed Amy Brooks as Helena's leading all-time scorer and rebounder.
"Jamie is the best player on the floor," coach Eric Peterson said after Helena defeated Butte in the first round of the state playoffs.