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Fruitland High School

School Info
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
Classification: 3A

Head Coach: Mike Fitch

Years as Head Coach: 16th year

Record Last Year: 11-12

State Titles: 1980, 2008, 2011, 2012

Assistant Coaches:
Troy O’Dell
Willie Lake
Mike Tesnohlidek

Team Preview:

Written by: Vince Trimboli

For the first time in 12 years the Fruitland Grizzlies will start the basketball season NOT as the reigning 3A District-3 champions.

Fruitland lost in the district championship game to eventual 3A State Runner-up Homedale. Then to add insult to injury for the 3A hoops power, they lost in the second place game to Parma and missed out on the state tournament for only the second time in 16 years.

“Last year was very humbling. I felt really bad for our seniors,” said head coach Mike Fitch who begins his 16th year with the program. “As coach it’s your responsibility to figure out what motivates and the keys and tricks to turn the corner and we as a coaching staff weren’t able to do that.”

The good news for Grizzly basketball fans is uber motivated Fitch doesn’t like to lose. Fruitland only lost four seniors and has a “talented” group of juniors and sophomores it will blend with some experienced seniors.

Leading the way is junior point guard Dametri Weatherall, along with senior guard/forward Jarred Seamons and senior forward Tristan Bones. All three played significant minutes last year and will be called upon to take leadership roles this season. Seamons is one of several players that will transition from the football team that made its 9th straight appearance in the 3A Milk Bowl (a 36-21loss to Snake River).

Senior guard Michael O’Dell and junior guard Josh Richins add experience to a team that will lack size but not depth. Fitch expects to play at least 10 guys and said he is looking forward to making the adjustment to a smaller lineup.

“I like to play small it gives us some versatility,” said the Fitch who is also Fruitland’s principal.

Going into the year, he said this squad with its youth, depth and guard oriented make-up reminds him of the 2008 team that eventually gelled and won a state championship. With other quality guard heavy and experienced teams, like Homedale, Parma and Emmett, he certainly not talking title yet for this season. But he is looking forward to a fresh start for the program that has won three state titles since 2008.

“Depth is going to be a tremendous part of what we do. We’re going to stretch the floor and try to play fast and let kids have some fun,” said Fitch. “It’s going to be a unique because we’re going to have a lot of new faces. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited.

“It’s not about making up for last year. It’s a new group. Last year is done and hopefully we’ll learn from it. We’re working at putting a good product on the floor so the kids have a good experience.”

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