Conference: 1AD1 Western Idaho Conference
Classification: 1A D1
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Head Coach: Jay Hughes
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 20 total years, Co-Founder of Idaho Elite Basketball
Record Last Year: 25-2
State Titles: 2016
G Jaxon Hughes (Sr)
G Ethan Christensen (Jr)
G Jack Roberts (Sr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Hughes 2nd Team All-State / 1st Team All-WIC / 2nd Team All-Tournament
Christensen 2nd Team All-WIC
Roberts Honorable Mention All-WIC
Key Players lost from last year:
Travis Yenor (1A Division 1 Player of the Year)
Eason Boeck (All-WIC, All-State)
Incoming impact players:
Blaine Stuart (Sr)
Paul Yenor (Fr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
It’s hard to envision a proper encore for the Ambrose Archers boys basketball team. Maybe Jay Hughes’ team can get the College of Idaho or Northwest Nazarene on the schedule.
That’s how good the 1A Division 1 Archers were last season. Twenty-five wins, two losses. A state championship. The two losses came to 5A semifinalist Centennial and 4A Vallivue. Within the 1A Western Idaho Conference, the Archers dominated. In two games against Liberty Charter, a solid 16-win team that reached the state tournament as well, Ambrose outscored the Patriots, 137-70.
But … what’s done is done. Can Ambrose replicate its success this season?
Hughes’ team has some intriguing pieces back, including two-time All-State honoree Jaxon Hughes. Hughes was instrumental in the team’s dramatic, come-from-behind win over Lapwai in the 1A Division 1 title tilt last season as a junior. He scored 13 points and connected on 9-of-10 free throw attempts in the win. One of Hughes’ back-court running mates, junior Ethan Christensen, scored 12 points, including a critical three-point shot late in the final period to help seal the win for the Archers.
Senior Jack Roberts and junior Blaine Stuart also return for Ambrose, providing the team with stability and depth going into the season.
Hughes will have to replace two key puzzle pieces – 1A Division 1 State Player of the Year Travis Yenor (who headed to California to play college basketball at The Masters) and All-State selection Ethan Boeck, who averaged eight points per game over his four-year career at Ambrose. Helping to ease the transition is Stuart, expected to battle for a spot in the starting lineup, and Yenor’s younger brother, Paul, who is a freshman.
“These are great kids,” Hughes told the Preview of the 2016-17 rendition of the Archers. “We are looking forward to working hard and building relationships with each other.”
The journey for Ambrose begins in their own gym on December 2-3, when they host a season-opening, two-day tournament. The team also welcomes 2A Cole Valley Christian in for a game and appears at a post-holiday tournament in Parma just after Christmas before opening league play.
Perhaps the most-intriguing game on Ambrose’s schedule – if not all of 1A Division 1 – is a January 21 rematch of last spring’s state championship game against Lapwai. The Wildcats, like the Archers, return a number of key pieces from last season.
Will this season’s Ambrose team dominate in a similar fashion to last season’s? Only time will tell. But the team appears well-situated to compete for another berth in the state tournament and have an opportunity to defend its state title from last spring.