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Six-foot-and-up club: Before Washington State, Alex Covill still a force at Missoula Hellgate

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 09, 2023

MISSOULA — Alex Covill stands out on the basketball court.

There are few 6-foot-6 girls basketball players coming out of Montana, but that's what Covill stands, and she's one of the key leaders on this year's Missoula Hellgate girls basketball squad.

A gifted post player who played varsity as a freshman and has started since she was a sophomore, Covill is now bound for some of the highest level basketball in the country, as she is signed to play for Washington State in the Pac-12 next season. Covill said the Cougars, Utah, Boise State and Montana State were among her finalists before she gave her commitment.

"I want to be developed and I want to be challenged," Covill said. "I also know they're in the Pac-12 too so I know I'm going to be playing against some really good competition, girls that are probably taller than me, bigger than me and I want to be challenged my next four years. I didn't want it to be an easy ride, I want to continue to grow as a player so Washington State just got that perfectly."

Basketball runs in the family for Covill.

Her father, Nate Covill, and mother, Angella (Bieber) Covill, both played college basketball at Montana. Covill primarily grew up in Oregon until she moved to Missoula before her freshman year when her father took an assistant coaching job with the Lady Griz.

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Alex Covill, center, and the Missoula Hellgate girls basketball team run through drills at practice on Jan. 6, 2023.

There, she assimilated with a Hellgate team that was on the up-and-up and made the State AA title game the past two seasons with Covill at the center of the action.

"Coming in as a freshman was definitely a big adjustment from middle school basketball to high school basketball, especially with such a great group of girls that have been playing together for years prior," Covill said. "But, honestly they led me along the way and they helped shape me into the player I am today, so I'm super thankful for them."

And her growth in high school has allowed her to get used to her body after growing to 6-6 so rapidly.

"Sixth grade is when I hit 6-foot so I've been tall my entire life, but sixth grade is definitely when I hit that growth spurt," Covill said." Being tall in high school is definitely challenging, especially when you're the tallest person in school being a girl as well. That's definitely something to navigate around but honestly when you have teammates that are backing you up, you have people, you have friends, you have family, it just makes you feel so much more confident."

"I think everybody looks at Alex and obviously sees her physical prowess that she has as a 6-6 player, but getting to coach her, it's been really amazing to see all the other attributes that she has that contributes to her as a person, as a player aside from her height," Hellgate coach Maddie Keast added. "The leadership and intangibles that she brings to the court and to the program have just been second to none."

Through double teams and other challenges on the court, Covill is at the forefront, as the Knights are a younger bunch than last year, but are off to a 3-2 mark to begin the year and are 2-0 in Western AA play.

And with her commitment now official, Covill aims to continue elevating her game while helping the Knights shoot for another deep playoff run.

"Overall I would say just being a good teammate, winning games, I think that's our No. 1 goal right now just to kind of get in the flow of everything, readjust, especially since we lost so many players last year," Covill said. "Just have a good season."