Salmon River High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Paula Tucker
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: 13 seasons as head coach in Garden Valley
Record Last Year: 18-5
State Titles: None
G Maddy Tucker
G Chevelle Shepherd
G Payton Branstetter
P Sara Laritz
P Miranda Hofflander
Returning Players with Honors:
Tucker – Long Pin MVP / 1st Team All-State / Idaho State All-Tournament Team
Shepherd – 1st Team All-Long Pin / 2nd Team All-State / Idaho State All-Tournament Team
Laritz - 1st Team All-Conference
Branstetter - 2nd Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
P Ryan Simpson
Incoming impact players:
P Emily Diaz (Fr)
G/P Tehya Gubitosi (Fr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
Get ready, 1A girls basketball fans. The Salmon River Savages are coming. And head coach Paula Tucker is bringing a lot of star power with her.
Coming off an 18-win season that ended with a third-place trophy, Salmon River returns four starters which, all by itself, is great. But it’s who those returning players are that make it possible for it to be a special season in Riggins.
Start with senior guard Maddy Tucker. She was MVP of the Long Pin Conference and selected 1st Team All-State. Sophomore Chevelle Shepherd was 1st Team All-Conference in the Long Pin and 2nd Team All-State. Senior post Sarah Laritz was 1st Team All-Conference. Junior guard Payton Branstetter was 2nd Team All-Conference.
That’s a formidable four returning for Salmon River. You almost forget about senior Miranda Hofflander, but she’ll be back as well.
“Maddy, Chevelle and Payton are all good shooters and ball-handlers,” Tucker said. “Sarah and Miranda will be our inside package. We like to play an up-tempo game most of the time.”
If there is a chink in the Salmon River armor, it is probably depth. The Savages may not have more than eight players on the roster, with freshmen Emily Diaz and Tehya Gubitosi grooming behind the talented starters. While it’s obviously not an optimal situation, Tucker still likes where her team begins the season.
“Starting the third year of the program, players finally feel like they know what’s going on,” Tucker explained. “Instead of teaching how to do basic fundamentals, we have progressed to fine-tuning our skills and we are able to spend more time on team concepts.”
The Savages spend most of the non-conference portion of their schedule driving north to places like Nezperce, Highland (Craigmont) and Orofino before turning south in mid-December for league play. The team does have a marquee, home-and-home series against Lapwai, a team that has appeared in six of the past seven 1A Division 1 state championship games (winning the last two) and returns two-time State Player of the Year Iris Domebo, 1st Team All-State guard Koyama Young and 2nd Team All-State guard Shiniah Holt. Lapwai visits Salmon River on Saturday, December 3.
Things look promising for Salmon River. A deep run in the 1A Division 2 state tournament seems well-within the team’s grasp. But, Tucker says, it comes down to confidence.
“Which comes from knowing we are prepared,” Tucker said of the key to success. “We have to believe we can win every time we step on the floor.”