Buhl High School
Conference: 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference
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Head Coach: Dan Winn
Years as Head Coach: 7th Season
Previous Experience: 2 Years Head Coach at Castleford (2009 1AD2 Runner-Up)
Record Last Year: 23-3
State Titles: 1975, 1979, 2014
Jim Elkin, F, 12
Greg Loveless, F, 12
Zyon Cleverley, G, 12
Hunter Allred, G, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
SCIC All-Conference Second Team
Varsity player since sophomore year
Key Players lost from last year:
Hayden Eckert (5'9")
Playing Golf at Utah State University
3-Time Idaho All-State, First Team (2016, 2015, 2014)
SCIC Conference Player of the Year (2016)
4-Time SCIC All-Conference, First Team (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)
4 Year varsity starter at point guard
Michael Lively (6'6")
2-Time Idaho All-State, First Team (2016, 2015)
SCIC Conference Player of the Year, 2015
3-Time SCIC All-Conference, First Team (2016, 2015, 2014)
4 Year varsity starter
Kasey Crossland (6'3")
Playing golf and basketball at Corban University
2-Time Idaho All-State, Second Team (2016, 2014)
3-Time SCIC All-Conference, First Team (2016, 2014, 2013)
3 Year varsity starter (Missed junior year, ACL)
Incoming impact players:
Adam Lauda (6'3"), F, 10, probable starter as a sophomore
Garrett Montgomery (6'0"), G, 11, impact shooter/slasher/defender
Austin Azevedo (5'9"), G, 11, impact shooter/slasher/defender
Garrett Bowman (6'0"), G, 10, up and coming point guard
Payton Rodig (6'2"), F, 10, up and coming post player
Carter Kelsey (6'0"), F, 10, up and coming shooter/slasher
A.J. Armitage (5'7"), G, 10, up and coming point guard
Written by: Sven Alskog
What a program Head Coach Dan Winn has put together at Buhl.
Over the course of the last three seasons the Indians have put together a 67-10 overall record, including a state championship in 2014 and a runner-up performance in 2015. Last season wasn't too shabby either with a 23-3 record and some third place hardware from state to show for it.
Faces of the program in Hayden Eckert, Michael Lively and Kasey Crossland have all graduated, leaving a great opportunity for the senior class of Jim Elkin, Greg Loveless, Zyon Cleverley and Hunter Allred.
The trio that exits each earned at least two All-State honors during their high school careers, while Elkin returns as a Second Team All-Conference selection from last year.
"We’ve lost a ton of firepower from the past several seasons, and our offense will morph into a more balanced attack, led by four seniors in Elkin, Loveless, Cleverley and Allred," said Winn. "We want to establish multiple offensive weapons, which gives us diversity in our offense. We preach being aggressive in pace, ball movement and shot selection."
With new faces inherently going to see heavy playing time this season, there will obviously be a transition period early in the year. Winn says the success of the season will depend largely on how quick that process is.
"Our x-factor would probably be the rate of growth as we go through the preseason schedule before Christmas break. We will have our growing pains early in our schedule, but we expect to be in the mix at the end for our conference and district championships."
He knows the conference schedule will be a major test.
"Our conference is really good, and they will be ready to try to bury us after we graduated so much talent. I’d say Kimberly will be the favorites, as they return so much talent from last season, coupled with their success on the gridiron in football. We need to focus our team on getting a little better every day in practice, so we can peak when the district tournament arrives."
For those not familiar with the Buhl style, it involves an up-tempo approach with pressure defense.
Expected sophomore starter at forward Adam Lauda and juniors Garrett Montgomery and Austin Azevedo have the task of joining the senior four to patrol that defensive effort.
"We play man-to-man defense, with a focus on pressuring our opponents out of their comfort zone," said Winn. "We have some good athletes, so we ask them to give themselves to the team on defense. Rebounding is very important to us, as it ignites our offense."
He acknowledges hoping to see improvement on the boards from a year ago.
"We need to get rebounding from multiple sources. Rebounding is our measurement of effort, both as an individual, and as a team."
In the end how the Indians perform this year can be directly correlated to how the senior class steps into increased leadership and performance roles.
Winn is eager to see that play out.
"We are very excited to see our four seniors take the mantle as the face of the program. They’ve been in the shadows of some of the greatest players to ever put on a uniform at Buhl, and now they get their chance in the spotlight. I’m excited to see them show fans what they can do."
With different faces and a younger look, there is some unknown with this Buhl group. That being said, it wouldn't be wise to bet against the Indians making another run of things at a conference title, also making some noise come March.