McCall - Donnelly High School
Conference: 2A Western Idaho Conference
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McCall - Donnelly High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Cody Hansen
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 4 Years at North Gem
Record Last Year: 5-17
State Titles: 1979
Rose Hansen, 11
Brook Robinson, 12
Lilly Beltran, 11
Chloe Hansen, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Rose Hansen, Second Team All-Conference
Brook Robinson, Honorable Mention All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Incoming impact players:
Jessica Jones, 10
Brooke Richardson, 9
Written by: Sven Alskog
2A Western Idaho Conference Preview
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
2. Cole Valley
3. Nampa Christian
4. New Plymouth
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kori Pentzer, Senior, Melba
Emma Clark, Junior, Melba
Holly Golenor, Senior, Cole Valley
Ace Haas, Senior, Cole Valley
Kenzie White, New Plymouth
Mackenzie Farrans, Marsing
Jessie Wood, Sophomore, Nampa Christian
With the return of 2A State Player of the Year Kori Pentzer, the Melba Mustangs enter the new season as favorites in the Western Idaho Conference.
While having Pentzer back will be a huge boost for a Melba team which won the consolation trophy at state last year, the Cole Valley Chargers could prove a tough challenger in what is always a quality conference from top to bottom.
Joining Pentzer as a returner for the Mustangs is First Team All-Conference point guard Emma Clark and a couple of post players in senior Tinsley Christensen and junior Mary Ellen Cossel.
With so much talent available, sticking within the system will be pivotal for Melba.
“Every year it is exciting to see how a team comes together and gels as the season goes on and this team isn’t any different,” said Melba head coach David Lenz. “Players must accept their role and perform that role to the best of their ability. If we are all able to buy in and put the team first then we have a chance to have a successful season.”
Expect more of the same pressure put on opponents as last year in the second season for the Mustangs under Lenz.
“We are a team that likes to keep pressure on our opponents by playing at a fast pace both offensively and defensively,” added Lenz.
Plenty of talent returns for another state tournament team from a year ago, Cole Valley, which has a new coach in Stu Sells, a former assistant at Utah State who has also coached at Vallivue previously.
The talent pool is highlighted by First Team All-State senior forward Holly Golenor, an explosive scoring threat who creates matchup nightmares for the opposition each night. Ace Haas was an Honorable Mention All-Conference performer as a junior, so with her back as well the Chargers have two dangerous scoring options.
“I absolutely love this team’s close knit relationship and what they stand for as a group. This team has great energy and purpose and are accepting of a completely new style of play on both ends of the court. Success will come gradually as they begin to understand new basketball concepts along with a new found hunger for the game,” said Sells.
Expect sophomores Savannah Khoury and Maddie Cooke to potentially see big minutes as well, with the future looking bright for Cole Valley with what is a fantastic sophomore class in place.
“Cole Valley is a very good team and will cause a lot of matchup problems with their size. They are the team to beat,” said Lenz.
This year the 2A WIC gets 2.5 spots into the state tournament meaning it will be a fun battle to see who gets those spots.
Last year Marsing made it into the state tournament, only graduating two players from that group.
The Huskies will be challenged by a Nampa Christian team that gained a lot of experience last season and a New Plymouth squad that returns a key player in Aidrie Voile from injury and has some good talent around her.
“I think Nampa Christian may surprise some people. They were young last year,” said New Plymouth head coach Denise Oliver.
The Pilgrims and Trojans bring a lot to the table that coaches from around the league are taking notice of.
“New Plymouth and Nampa Christian will be much improved this season. New Plymouth gets a very good player back from injury this season. They also have added a freshman who will give them size defensively and an inside presence offensively [Alyssa Christenson]. Nampa Christian was mostly freshmen last year so being another year older and another year in Cam’s system will only benefit them,” added Lenz.
As a result of playing primarily freshmen last season, Nampa Christian will still be one of, if not the youngest team in the state. For head coach Cam Long, the fact that the Trojans still managed to win eight games last year has to provide plenty of optimism now that there is more experience on the floor.
“It’s a great group of sophomores with no upperclassmen. They work hard and are exceptional people off the court. They had a really good summer and are just looking to keep getting better,” said Long. “We have a lot of kids that can stretch the floor from three and run well in transition.”
There is no question the future is bright for Nampa Christian.
“They return all five starters and eight of their ten varsity players. So even though they are sophomores they are experienced and game ready,” added Sells.
First Team All-Conference senior guard Kenzie White leads New Plymouth, which has a good group of seniors that should help provide leadership to the younger players coming up through the program.
“We are very excited to have some height this year and a group of kids that are willing to put in what it takes to win. We should also have some strong senior leadership,” said Oliver.
Marsing made a trip to the state tournament last season and returns a good portion of the roster, including All-Conference senior forward Mackenzie Farrans and junior guard Alex Grant, who was outstanding at state, highlighted by playing all 32 minutes with 17 points in a hard-fought loss to Cole Valley.
The Huskies could be a sleeper team in a conference which has as much quality from top to bottom as any in Idaho.
McCall-Donnelly has the unenviable task of trying to turn around its fortunes after a five win 2016/2017 in a gauntlet of a schedule. The Vandals have the longest state tournament drought of any of the six teams in the WIC.