West Jefferson High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
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Head Coach: Dave Hadley
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: Colton, WA (3 seasons); Shelley HS (17 seasons)
Record Last Year: 15-12
State Titles: 1974
G Braxton Ramirez (Jr)
F Clay Roundy (Sr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Ramirez, 2nd Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
G Uriel Garcia
Incoming impact players:
G Leo Aguilar (Sr)
G Dillon Jacobs (Soph)
F Adam Scott (Jr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
If you think you heard a collective groan from the basketball coaches across the Nuclear Conference, you probably did. The groan came in the form of the new bench boss at West Jefferson – Dave Hadley.
The long-time head coach heads to Terreton after 17 seasons with Shelley, where he won two state titles with the Russets. And he’s not exactly taking over a downtrodden program – the Panthers played in the District championship game last winter and competed in the 2A State Tournament in March.
The program has won just one state championship, in 1974 under the leadership of Jon Wilson, but has long been a tournament-caliber team. In fact, dating back to 1990, the 2A state champion has come from eastern Idaho (District V or VI) 18 times in 27 years. And many around the basketball trails of eastern Idaho think that the tough Nuclear Conference got a little tougher with the addition of Hadley.
Of course, Hadley isn’t inheriting an empty cupboard. He returns 2nd Team All-Conference guard Braxton Ramirez along with senior forward Clay Roundy. He also has versatile players like Shad Pancheri, Jay Dalling and Dallin Grover. He likes the pieces he has, but knows there’s work to be done.
“We will have to be good at playing positional, man-to-man (defense), to make opponents hit tough shots and not give up easy baskets in transition and on back-door offense,” Hadley said of his new squad. “I think we have some smart players.”
The Panthers set the bar high by defeating 3A opponents in each of their first two games (Teton and American Falls) but Hadley urges patience with his new team.
“We are very inexperienced at the varsity level,” he told The Preview. “I hope fans will be supportive and understand that we will be improving all the time and the games that really count will be in February.”
Hadley also understands the caliber of conference he just stepped into. League rival Firth has seven state titles in the past ten years.
“Firth has to be considered the favorite because of their tradition and longevity with Coach (Scott) Adams,” Hadley noted. “but I think Ririe has the most-talented and balanced team.”
And he’s not discounting North Fremont, noting the two foes have a good rivalry, or Salmon.
“We have to worry about getting better day by day and not look too far ahead or worry about the past,” Hadley continued. “For us to succeed, we have to be able to maximize our points per possession.”
But no matter what, according to the new head coach, effort won’t be the downfall of his team.
“As a coach, it is my job to find ways for them to succeed because work ethic is not an issue.”