Orofino High School
Conference: 2A Central Idaho League
Head Coach: Jeff Wright
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Record Last Year: 14-9
State Titles: 1950
Justin Haag, Jeff Wilson, Bo Bonner
G Hayden Wilson (Sr); G Gabe Turner (Sr); F Bayley Noah (Jr)
“Key Players” lost from last year:
G Brendan Judd
Incoming “impact” players:
G Justin Zweifel (Soph); F Matt West (Soph); F Brandton Chatfield (Fr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
Coming off of a 14-win season, the Orofino Maniacs have reason to think they could make a move this season in the 2A Central Idaho League.
The team has experience – four seniors and four juniors headline head coach Jeff Wright’s eleven-player roster.
The team has size – four players on the roster stand at least six-foot-two. Only one of the four, forward Kolby Brink, is a senior.
The team can shoot – then-junior guard Hayden Wilson hit six threes in a game against Deary last season and added 20 points in a dramatic, one-point loss to St. Maries in the district championship game.
The Maniacs, as a team, topped 60 points eight different times last season. So could Orofino end a state-tournament skid that stretches back to 2008?
Since the Maniacs’consolation-title win over West Jefferson, the District II representative has been virtually owned by either Kamiah (now 1A, 2009—2012) or Grangeville (2013-2015).St. Maries did reach the 2015 state tournament, placing third. No one could fault Wright for having high hopes coming into the season, but he knows there’s work to be done.
"We think we have the ability to shoot the three ball a little bit," Wright said of his team, but added, "(We) hope to improve upon our assist-to-turnover ratio."
Take care of the ball and knock down some shots from the perimeter? Sounds like a good recipe.
With Wilson and senior Gabe Turner on the perimeter, along with Isaac Glaze and Taran Burke, Wright has options outside. The athletic Brink, 6-foot-4 Bayley Noah and 6-foot-4 Matt West will join senior Hunter Cobbs up front to give the team size up front. A potential wild card: 6-foot-6 freshman Brandton Chatfield. It’s not easy for a freshman to compete at the varsity level right away. But, if Chatfield can find a niche, Wright’s front court suddenly becomes pretty deep.
If the puzzle pieces come together as they could, the CIL title could be on the line when Grangeville visits Orofino on February 16. The Grangeville game has been competitive with a full house the last three years, Wright said of the matchup.
The key to Orofino’s season could be the first six weeks. Of the Maniacs’ first ten games, seven of them are on the road. If Coach Wright’s crew comes out of that stretch in good shape, it bodes well for a back-loaded schedule. Nine of Orofino’s last 11 games are at home, including a seven-game homestand between January 21 and February 2.