Vallivue High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
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Head Coach: Ryan Lundgren
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: Assistant under Leon Rice at Boise State 2011-2015, Associate head coach at Boise High School form 2010-2011, Head Sophomore coach at Bishop Kelly 2007-2010.
Record Last Year: 11-13
State Titles: 1976, 2001, 2008
Returning Players with Honors:
Tyas Kitchen. 5A SIC All-Conference Honorable Mention
Written by: Lucas Gebhart
Last season Vallivue head coach Ryan Lundgren was setting the stage for greatness.
Lundgren, a former Boise State assistant under Leon Rice, has brought a new attitude to Vallivue, which includes a 48-hour boot camp with sergeants from the United State Air Force as a way to build leadership and toughness which will transfer to the court.
“Basketball season is a journey, and not an easy journey,” Lundgren said. “We want our guys focusing on winning each day, rather than winning a district or state championship.”
The Falcons will focus on winning each day, then championships will come as a bi-product.
Three seniors, Nate Johnson, RJ Wade and Dillon Bean saw the birth of this new era last season, but have graduated and will have to see how the era takes shape from the stands.
“All great leaders for this team,” Lundgren said. “Fortunately, our nine returning players had the privilege of watching and learning under these three. I think that experience will help their transition into leadership roles this season.”
In addition to the nine returners, Vallivue also welcomes in two new transfers in Jered Monnier and Nick Fitts, who Lundgren has been raving about.
“Nick Fitts is the best ball screen point guard in the state of Idaho right now,” Lundgren said. “We will look to get him involved in as many ball screens as possible.”
The Falcons will return the team’s leading scorer from last season in Tyas Kitchen.
“Tyas Kitchen can really stretch the floor with his length and shooting ability,” Lundgren said. “Kitchen has worked hard to become a dual-threat and has been doing a great job of putting the ball on the floor this preseason.”
Last season the offense sputtered at moments, but with one year and an entire offseason of working out the kinks of the system, Lundgren believes Vallivue will be one of the highest scoring offenses in the state this season.
“I felt like our offense looked decent at times last year, but it really took our guys about 12 months of summer basketball and regular season basketball to start to grasp the concept,” Lundgren said. “I am ecstatic about where we are in our early season practices compared to last year. Those concepts that we struggled with last year, we are really understanding and executing well. This allows us to install some advanced concepts into our spread, ball screen offense.”
Since taking over at Vallivue, Lundgren has shaved almost 15 points off of the team’s defensive scoring average. The coach expects to shave more off of the average this season as the team will look to hold teams in the high to mid-40s while looking to run when possible.
“We have some terrific athletes in our backcourt and I think senior guards, Nick Fiits and Jered Monnier are two of the best ball screen defenders in the valley,” Lundgren said. Senior Forwards, Landon Cain and Hunter Sedillo have transformed their bodies this offseason and will be impact defenders for us.”
Rebounding will remain a top priority from last season.
“Part of the issue last year was our lack of height in comparison to 5A opponents,” Lundgren said, who has experience coach the 5A program of Boise High School. “The 4A conference is naturally a more guard-oriented league, and that in and of itself will benefit us. We need to be much better in defensive transition this season, and that will be predicated on our communication, which we are heavily emphasizing in the early going.”
Lundgren believes he has the best point guard in the state that runs a high-flying offense while piloting a fast and aggressive defense that will make teams pay for their mistakes.
“We will be one of the more entertaining teams to watch in the Treasure Valley,” Lundgren said. “I think any Vallivue game you come to, you won’t be disappointed.”