Highland High School
Conference: 5A District 5-6 Conference
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Highland High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Ty Pearson
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Record Last Year: 11-13
State Titles: 1970, 1981, 1990, 1996, 2016
Daxton Carr, G/F, 12
Kolmon Farnsworth, F, 12
Garrett Crane, G, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Garrett Crane, All-Conference Second Team
Daxton Carr, All-Conference Honorable Mention
Key Players lost from last year:
Photo By: Kyle Riley - #1 Daxton Carr
Written by: Matt Harris
5A District 5-6 Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Daxton Carr, Highland
Garrett Crane, Highland
Trey Johnson, Hillcrest
Jaxon Weatherly, Hillcrest
Derek Marlowe, Hillcrest
Kyle Austin, Hillcrest
Dillon Sorenson, Bonneville
Randon Hostert, Bonneville
Ben Fullmer, Rigby
Wyatt Taylor, Rigby
Tanner Clayton, Rigby
Tanoa Togiai, Rigby
Brigham Williams, Madison
Last season, the Madison Bobcats and Bonneville Bees represented the 5A eastern Idaho schools at the state tournament. Madison was a heavy favorite to reach the title game and bring the state championship back to the Upper Valley.
But it was the Bees who ended up bringing home a trophy, as Madison came home empty handed.
After an offseason of change in Rexburg, which included the retirement of legendary head coach Bill Hawkins, the Bobcats enter a new era with longtime assistant Travis Schwab taking the reigns of Madison’s boys basketball program. The Bobcats have historically excelled in boys basketball, but this season they may play the role of underdog while they find their feet.
“For the first time in a long time at Madison High School, there is no pressure on this team,” said Schwab. “Most people think we are going through a rebuilding year after losing almost everyone from last year’s team, so I am super excited to see what our guys can do this year.”
Madison lost their entire starting lineup and first three players off the bench to graduation this year. Those players included Jaxon Edelmayer, Nathan Webb, Konner Jackson, Mason Downey, Brandon Edelmayer, David Rowe, Con Ball, and Justin Weiszhaar. Those players accounted for 89 percent of the Bobcats’ offensive production last year, according to Schwab.
But the red, gray, and white will look to carve out new roles and find new leaders in this brand new season. Returning to the Bobcats is senior Brigham Williams, who is the only returning player who saw any court time on varsity last season. He will be joined by seniors Cameron Webster and Joseph Dougherty. Madison then adds a solid junior class who will seek to find their roles and establish themselves.
“We have a good group of junior players who went 22-1 as sophomores last season,” Schwab said. “We are expecting a lot from each of these players this season.”
While the Madison players have not spent a ton of time playing together, it could potentially be problematic for opponents as they don’t know what to expect from the new players and new coaching staff.
“Because we are so young and inexperienced right now, we really don’t know what we do well yet,” Schwab said. “Our guys compete though and they have no problem getting after it on the defensive end. I truly feel that we need to work on our team chemistry and playing together on the floor – this should come with experience and playing time as the season progresses.”
“We need to keep improving each game and to be playing our best basketball in February.”
For Bonneville, after reaching their first 5A state tournament in school history and earning a state consolation trophy, the Bees are also searching for new players to fill roles left by departed seniors.
“We lost everyone!” said head coach John Tucker IV with a chuckle. “We have a lot of questions to be answered, but we have a lot of pieces to put together.”
Bonneville loses Tyler Scoresby, Kehari Harrigfeld, Coleman Clayton, Jaden Howell, and a senior laden bench, meaning that more of the focus will shift onto senior Dillon Sorensen, who will enter his third season starting on varsity. Sorensen is joined by Randon Hostert, Gerohm Rihari, and Bret Cooper as returning players.
“We have two 6’5” lanky wings that can play with anyone (referring to Sorensen and Hostert) and Gerohm is an athletic point guard who will be fun to watch. He has a good motor,” said Tucker. “We have a great team attitude as the kids want to build on the step we took last year in making it to state.”
Tucker said that he expects senior post Brand Piquet along with sharpshooting juniors Riley Judy and Jamison Trane to have a big impact on the Bees this season. He also anticipated being able to throw a few different looks at opponents this season.
“We have the ability to run the floor and I think we will be a matchup up problem with some athletic height,” he said. “We have to mesh together with so many new pieces.”
Once conference play rolls around, the Bees are hoping that they can take care of business at home, but especially on the road.
“The teams that can get key wins on the road in the conference have been the ones who make it to state,” Tucker said. “We have to compete on the road.”
The Rigby Trojans are a team that competes night in and night out for head coach Justin Jones despite their relative youth.
Last season was a tough one for the Rigby faithful as they saw the team go 1-21 on the year with an essentially brand new cast of characters. But Rigby is a team you can never count out with the athletes and coaching staff they possess.
While Connor Shippen departs the program due to graduation, the maroon and gold bring back a plethora of young players in Tanoa Togiai, Ben Fullmer, and Wyatt Taylor. Tanner Clayton, Tagg Olaveson, and Keegan Zundel are also in tow, along with numerous other young and talented players who will help Rigby rise once again.
The rest of the conference sees Rigby being much improved this year.
“They went 1-21 last year, but they are going to be way better than that this year,” said Schwab. Tucker added that the Trojans are young, athletics, and well-coached.
The Hillcrest Knights are a preseason favorite in the conference and bring back a wealth of experienced talent who will seek to end the Knights’ seven year state tournament drought, dating to back when they were in the 4A classification.
Led by head coach Dave Austin, Hillcrest will lean on the strength of Derek Marlowe, Trey Johnson, and Jaxon Weatherly. The Knights will also look to Parker Stevens for additional support and hope to use their length to their advantage.
Hillcrest does lose the services of sharpshooting marksman Nash Austin, so the Knights will have to fill his shoes in terms of offensive production. They are a team to watch out for this season, especially if they can keep their early season momentum going through February.
The other team who will contend for the conference crown are the Highland Rams, who did not have the chance to defend their 2016 state championship at the state tournament last season after being knocked out in the district tournament by Bonneville.
It was a transition year for head coach Ty Pearson, who is now in his second season leading Highland. But in year two, the Rams will be in the running behind the services of Cal Poly commit Daxton Carr along with returners Garrett Crane and Kolmon Farnsworth. Look for those three players to have a big impact on the success of the red and black this season.
Senior Tommy Togiai will not be suiting up for Highland this season as he graduated this fall in hopes of enrolling in time for spring football at one of the many Power 5 schools who are chasing his services and commitment.
The Rams had a tough go of it at times last year in Pearson’s offensive system, however they have matured and gelled in 2017. They will have to continue their improvement throughout their season and find consistency if they would like to reach the state tournament once again.