Ririe High vs West Jefferson girls basketball

Ririe’s Anna Boone moves the ball past West Jefferson’s Saige Moss in a January game at Ririe.

Six months ago, Anna Boone did not think she wanted to pursue college basketball.

That all changed within the last month, and now the recent Ririe High School graduate will be headed to Miles Community College in Miles City, Montana, in August. She signed her letter of intent with the Pioneers on Monday night.

Boone was on her way to the Idaho high school track state championships in mid-May when her cousin, recent Bonneville graduate Aly Radford, suggested she look into Miles Community College. Radford already knew she was going to Miles, signing with their softball program two weeks later. Boone did contact Miles women’s basketball head coach Taylor Harris and an offer was extended after some email conversations.

While her post graduate plans turned out a bit differently than what she originally anticipated, Boone is eager to take to the hardwood at the college level.

“I had thought about playing in college during the season around Christmas break, kind of,” Boone said Tuesday by phone. “I thought about it and was like, ‘This isn’t for me. I don’t think I wanna do it.’ On my way to state track, my cousin (Aly)was like, you need to contact the coach and see if he’ll take you. We talked a couple times. I’m definitely excited for this opportunity.”

Boone joins Radford and recent West Jefferson graduate Kyla Johnson as local athletes who signed with Miles. Like Radford, Johnson signed with the softball program. Boone was recruited as a guard and will arrive in Miles City on August 29. Classes begin September 4.

Boone joins a Miles program coming off a historic season. The Pioneers went 33-1 last season, going undefeated in regular season play and reaching the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time since 1990. The 2019-20 season will be Harris’s first with the team, as previous coach Nate Vogel accepted the head coaching job at NCAA Division II program Texas A & M International.

The recent success and the small town atmosphere are what Boone said she looks forward to the most about joining the Pioneers.

“I’m excited for the friendships that I’ll be able to build there,” Boone said. “It’s a lot like Ririe, a small community. The fans always get together for the teams. I’m excited for that. It’s gonna be a lot like what I’m used to.”

Boone averaged 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game while shooting 35.3 percent from 3-point range and 69 percent from the free throw line as a senior. She was part of three consecutive 2A District 6 championships, a program-first state championship in 2017 and a state runner-up finish in 2018. The Bulldogs went 67-13 during her time on varsity, including a program best 25-2 in 2017.

Boone said she believes playing for Ririe helped prepare her for this next step, adding that she learned a lot by playing for Damien Smith. A 2001 Ririe graduate, Smith stepped down from his positions as Ririe’s principal, athletic director and head girls basketball coach earlier this month to accept the superintendent position at the Uinta County School District in Lyman, Wyo. Smith led the Bulldogs to five 2A District 6 championships, a third place finish, two runner-up finishes and a state title in 12 seasons.

Boone is the sixth girls basketball player Smith coached to sign with a college basketball program.

“For me, I just think he not only helped me to be the best basketball player I could be, but the best person I could be,” Boone said. “I’m ready to go out to the next level and show what Ririe has to offer and how much he helped me as a player and a person.”

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at 542-6772 and find her on Twitter: @mwhereford.

Marlowe Hereford has worked for the Post Register since August 2011. She has covered 11 different high school sports, Olympic sports and recreational sports.