Greenleaf Friends Academy
Conference: 1AD1 Western Idaho Conference
Classification: 1A D1
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Head Coach: John Ihli
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: Junior High at Greenleaf Friends
Record Last Year: 1-18
State Titles: 1982
P Cody Reid (Sr)
G Ezra Carson (Sr)
F Graham Kelly Jr)
Incoming impact players:
P Ben Craft (Jr)
F Colton Sedlacek (Soph)
G Garrett Sedlacek (Soph)
F Daniel Dixon (Fr)
G Joe Ihli (Fr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
First-year head coach John Ihli has two things going for him at Greenleaf Friends Academy this season.
First, he’s moving up from the school’s junior high program, so he knows exactly what he’s inheriting and what is on the way.
Second, the 1-18 record from last season looks bleak, but the Grizzlies were in a lot of games early in the season before running out of steam down the stretch against the top teams in the Western Idaho Conference, like Ambrose and Liberty Charter.
The Grizzlies return senior post player Cody Reid along with junior forward Graham Kelly, but the strength of the team may lie in its backcourt. Senior Ezra Carson returns to run the point for Greenleaf Friends Academy and he’ll be joined by freshman Joe Ihli – yes, they’re related – and Coach Ihli believes both have the potential to be legitimate scorers in the Western Idaho Conference.
Sophomore Garrett Sedlacek adds depth in the backcourt. Forwards Colton Sedlacek, also a sophomore, and Daniel Dixon, a freshman, give the team some youthful energy on the wings with junior Ben Craft giving the Grizzlies another post player.
One key for the Grizzlies will be more consistency on offense. The team cracked 40 points only two times last season, coming in back-to-back games in mid-December. Greenleaf had trouble scoring points late in the season, totaling 18, 27, 20 and 38 points in its final four contests of the campaign.
Ihli also wants to see improvement on defense.
“More thorough man-to-man defense,” Ihli specified. “And a more-effective full court press.”
Following a non-conference schedule that features a home-and-home set with Garden Valley of the Long Pin Conference and an appearance at Wilder’s pre-holiday tournament in mid-December, a key stretch of games for Greenleaf Friends Academy comes at the end of January.
The Grizzlies host three straight games against North Star Charter School, Compass Charter and Horseshoe Bend before traveling to Victory Charter. The team then returns home on February 3 to take on Rimrock. Four of five games in the stretch are at home. If the team can hold its own in that stretch, it bodes well for positioning and seeding at the district tournament. The Grizzlies will end the regular season with as close to a home game as they can get while being on the road – playing in Wilder, less than six miles from Greenleaf.
“They are a neighboring city and we like to compete well against them,” Ihli said of the Grizzlies/Wildcats matchup. “It will be a tough game but we hope we will do well.”