New Plymouth High School
Conference: 2A Western Idaho Conference
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Head Coach: Denise Oliver
Years as Head Coach: 17th Season
Record Last Year: 20-6
State Titles: 2001
Kenzie White (PG)
Aidrie Voile (P)
Katherine Fischer (G)
Brianna Killion (G)
Returning Players with Honors:
White, 2nd-team All-Western Idaho Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Graduated six seniors, four that started
Written by: Will Hoenike
The New Plymouth Pilgrims were flying high last February. After defeating Wendell in the opening round of the Idaho 2A Girls State Basketball Tournament, the Pilgrims had 20 wins and a date against Soda Springs in the semifinal round. Just two steps away from the second state title in program history. And then …
Back to back losses. Hard, tough losses. In the semifinal and the 3rd-place game.
Head coach Denise Oliver, entering her 17th season at New Plymouth, has one state title on her Pilgrims’ resume (2001) and six state tournament appearances in the past eight years, so there’s plenty of reason to think she’ll be able to go back to the blueprint and put another good basketball team on the floor in 2016-17.
The Pilgrims will have to replace six seniors – for of which started – but the team returns all-conference point guard Kenzie White. The team also returns post player Aidrie Voile and guard Brianna Killion. The two, along with White, are expected to form the core of the New Plymouth roster this season. Katherine Fischer will be called upon to play an expanded role this season as well.
“We are a little taller than last season,” Oliver observed. “Which will allow us to play some different types of defense and rebound better.”
The 2A Pilgrims have won 115 games – an average of almost 16.5 per season – over the past seven seasons. To keep that up, Oliver’s team is going to have to hit the ground running. Six of the team’s first eight games are against 3A opponents and the two games that aren’t are against Ontario, a 4A team just across the Snake River in Oregon.
“All games will be competitive for us,” Oliver concluded. “But Cole Valley (Christian) and Melba will be very tough.”
As fate would have it, after opening against eight straight opponents from larger classifications, New Plymouth’s first 2A foes are … you guessed it … Cole Valley Christian (December 9 in Meridian) and Melba (December 13 at New Plymouth).
Of New Plymouth’s 26 games last season, only five opponents managed to crack 50 points against the Pilgrim defense. If the team can duplicate that success on the defensive end of the court, they’ll be tough to beat. Oliver knows how to put a competitive team on the floor year-in and year-out. This season should be no different.