Gillette, Wyo.--MacKenzie Lepley, a 5'9 guard from Shepherd, Mont., is the latest recruit to sign with the Pronghorns.
Lepley averaged 9 points, 2 steals and 2 assists a game during her senior season. She was coached by her father, Bill, and her older sister, Taylor, played for Miles Community College the past couple of seasons.
Head Coach Will Rider said, "I'm very confident that MacKenzie will step-up and challenge our sophomores for playing time next year. She is a versatile player who can swing between the point and the shooting guard positions and combined with those freshmen players who have already signed with us, I feel that our depth at the 1, 2, & 3 positions will be as strong as we've ever been."
“It feels really great,” Lepley said. “I've always planned and ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be able to go on and play college basketball.”
MacKenzie added that she watched her father coach for years-who has been for 26 years-and all the players that have passed through, wanting to make it to the college ranks herself.
Lepley considered playing for Miles Community College and follow her sister's path, but as she said, “I knew that Gillette was a better program.” Like most recruits have said this season, Rider really showed interest in Lepley. “I knew that he would help me to become very successful.”
Her father says that she is a “good perimeter shooter.” With Rider looking to use her as a point and shooting guard, that will bode well for MacKenzie and the Pronghorns. Another factor that will benefit Lepley is the style of play her father instilled on his team.
“We've always kind of played a pretty up tempo kind of ball here at Shepherd...,” Mr. Lepley mentioned.
Like Wyoming high school basketball, Montana high school basketball doesn't use the shot clock, but that doesn't matter with Shepherd High School.
“I'd probably say shot clock wouldn't make much difference in our game. It seems like we get a shot off before that shot clock would go off anyways,” Mr. Lepley added.
Rider likes to use that same style of play. He is not afraid to have his players drive to the basket and play quick.
MacKenzie is the fifth recruit to sign with Gillette this offseason and the first that isn't from Wyoming. Rider now has 11 players on his team with the possibility of one or two more to come.