West Jefferson High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
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Head Coach: Jalena Dixon
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 2008-2010 JV coach @ West Jefferson, 2013-2016 JV/C-team coach @ West Jefferson
Record Last Year: 22-5
State Titles: 1999, 2000, 2010, 2016
Amber Brown, P, senior
Taylor Holdaway, G, senior
Addi Newman, G, senior
Allie Severe, G, junior
Saige Kirkpatrick, P, junior
Jalette Peterson, G, sophomore
Jordi Holdaway, G, sophomore
Returning Players with Honors:
Jordi Holdaway-All Conference Honorable Mention
Key Players lost from last year:
Jade Skidmore-Player of the year2A- All Idaho, Player of the year nuclear conference, 1st team-all area, 1st team-2A Idaho All tournament, USA-Today Idaho 2nd team, district and state all-star.
Kallee Nickerson- 1st team 2A-All Idaho, 1st team-Nuclear conference, 1st team-All area, MVP-2A Idaho All Tournament, District & State all star
Kaylee Newman-2nd team-Nuclear Conference, Honorable mention-All area
Incoming impact players:
Morgan Laird, PG, junior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
The defending 2A state champion West Jefferson Panthers are ready to take on the challenge of defending their title.
They’ll have to do it without a few familiar faces, however.
Gone from last season’s team are one-thousand point scorers Jade Skidmore and Kallee Nickerson, both of whom were All-State players. Gone is solid playmaker Kaylee Newman. Gone is head coach Gary Skidmore, who stepped down at the end of the season.
However, despite those losses the Panthers will have plenty of continuity.
Jalena Dixon steps up from her position as JV head coach to take the reigns of the varsity program. And the cupboard is not bare in Terreton.
Returning to Dixon’s squad this year are seniors Amber Brown, Taylor Holdaway, and Addi Newman. They are joined by juniors Allie Severe, Saige Kirkpatrick, and Morgan Laird. And sophomores Jalette Peterson and Jordi Holdaway round out a group laden with experience courtesy of their run to the title last year.
Dixon says that even though the team is familiar with each other, some of the players will have to take on new roles.
“Our success depends on how we mold together as a team,” she said. “Figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and being able to adjust when needed. I’m excited to see that during the year and see where we will be at the end of the season.”
The Panthers are hoping their season ends in a repeat trip to the Idaho Center in mid-February. But a lot of work will need to be done before that dream can be realized, especially on the offensive end.
“Two of our seniors from last year (Skidmore and Nickerson) scored over 1,000 points for their high school careers and we are all going to have to step up to fill that scoring role,” Dixon said. “I’m optimistic that we can do it with a good balanced effort from both inside and outside.”
Nickerson and Skidmore also provided some height that helped the team defensively. Dixon says that where the team lacks in height now will have to be made up with their speed and determination.
“We aren’t a tall team, so defensively we need to trust each other and take care of our responsibilities,” she said. “And we have to box out every time a shot goes up.”
In the competitive Nuclear Conference, even the smallest of miscues can make the difference between a win and a loss. Dixon believes that Ririe will be the front-runner in the conference, but that it’s still anyone’s game anytime that two Nuclear Conference teams step on the floor.
“It could be argued that the Nuclear Conference is one of the toughest in Idaho,” she said. “Any conference game is a must-see!”
Dixon is excited for the journey ahead with her team because of the real-life application that basketball brings to her players.
“I love watching the girls learn and grown and discover that they can do hard things, “she said. “Watching them become unselfish players and being willing to sacrifice for their teammates. It’s the life lessons they learn during the season that stick with them well after the “game” is over that makes coaching rewarding for me. I’m grateful that I can give back to the youth and hopefully pass on the love for the game.”