2A Canyon Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Keegan Duncan, Senior, Declo
Bart Gibby, Senior, Declo
Ben Puentes, Senior, Declo
Tyler Andersen, Junior, Declo
Sam Mallory, Junior, Declo
Blake Hughes, Junior, Wendell
Kyler Lukesh, Senior, Wendell
The 2A Canyon Conference is the smallest conference in the state of Idaho, with just Wendell and Declo squaring off against each other.
Declo is led by First Team All-State guard Keegan Duncan, but will have to replace the ball-handling ability of point guard Trey Smyer, who graduated following last season.
Alongside Duncan, the Hornets have plentiful talent, including posts Bart Gibby and Caleb Moore and guards Sam Mallory and Tyler Andersen.
That core group and incoming impact player Ben Puentes have expectations high.
“Best overall skill level we have had in the last three years. Depth and experience,” said Declo head coach Jacoby Fox. “If we have someone step into the point guard position that can provide some of the things that Smyer did for us, we will be as good or better than last year’s team.”
Players like McKay Breshears, Tyson Matthews and Caden Hamilton will all fit well into the up-tempo style.
“[We are] an aggressive defense that will speed up the pace of play. [Our] offensive goal is to complement our defense with capitalizing on fast break opportunities and pushing the ball in transition,” added Fox.
Wendell is the only other team in the Canyon Conference, and appears to be improved after winning just two games a year ago.
“They will be much improved and have had some kids transfer in that should help them,” said Fox.
This is the second season on the sideline for the Trojans for AJ Kelsey, who has Felipe Paniagua, Blake Hughes and Kyler Lukesh back to lead the charge.
Hughes and Lukesh were both All-Conference selections last year and will be team leaders once again.
Around them will be plenty of youth.
“We will be younger with some freshmen and sophomores on varsity,” said Kelsey. “[It’s] our second year to make more progress in the right direction.”
He mentioned getting better at executing on offense as a focus area for improvement heading into this season.