3A Snake River Valley Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jake O’Neil, Senior, Fruitland
Drake Stampfli, Senior, Fruitland
Hunter Stampfli, Senior, Fruitland
Cole Eiguren, Senior, Fruitland
Braydon Jensen, Senior, Parma
Jared Nielsen, Senior, Parma
Nelson Lomeli, Junior, Homedale
Carson Brown, Senior, Homedale
Braden Bumgarner, Senior, Weiser
Fruitland lost just one senior from its state championship winning roster from a year ago, leaving the Grizzlies as the favorite again in the 3A SRV.
Highlighting the returners is Jake O’Neil, a First Team All-State selection and SRV Player of the Year who can fill up the basket from anywhere on the floor. He will be out until around January with a leg injury however.
He is joined by First Team All-State forward Drake Stampli and guard Cole Eiguren to form the nucleus for what should be a tough group this year.
“We are excited to see if we can come together and have as much fun as we did last year. It will be a completely different experience, even with so many players returning,” said the Fruitland coaching staff.
With so many strong ball-handlers on the floor at all times, the Grizzlies can go fast and make things difficult for opponents on each end of the floor.
“We like to play fast. We like to extend man pressure and run our motion on offense. Our players move really well without the ball and they defended really well at state last year, so we hope to continue that. We always need to be more consistent. It’s a continual goal at both ends of the floor,” added the coaching staff.
Parma was the preseason pick to finish second in the conference after making a run to state last season.
Scot Garrick’s Panthers bring back all but three seniors from last year, with Jared Nielsen, Braydon Jensen and Ryan Nielsen again ready to lead the charge.
Replacing the scoring punch of Briton Parker will be a challenge, but Parma did have the experience of playing without him during the latter part of last season, so the team should be ready for that challenge.
Beyond the two state representatives from a year ago, coaches expect to see continued improvement from Homedale and Weiser.
“Homedale is a team that if they shoot the ball well, I think can beat a lot of people,” said Weiser head coach Brad Adolfson.
The Trojans welcome in new head coach Chris Vines to the sideline coming off a 7-13 mark last year.
First Team All-Conference guard Nelson Lomeli and Second Team All-Conference guard Carson Brown give the roster a talented backcourt duo, with Mason Kincheloe a strong option at the forward spot.
“A season ago we did not have as much depth as we will this year. Last year we also had some decent size to help, but with the lack of size, this team will be doing a lot by committee,” said Vines.
After a runner-up appearance at state football, the new coach is excited to bring many of those same players inside the gym for basketball season.
“Excited to have a chance to have the success of the football team carry over onto the court. Most of the team are football players and they [had] a great year. The winning in football helps build the team chemistry on and off the court. They all hang out often and are a close group. Seven of the ten guys saw some varsity minutes last season, allowing a veteran team to return. Key guys are Mason Kincheloe, Carson Brown, Nelson Lomeli and Daniel Uranga. These four guys saw most of the minutes last year and with the new season they will be asked to do a lot for this team,” added Vines.
Vines brings a high-octane style to the Trojans, who will be looking to run when the opportunity presents itself.
Jake Collett and Carlos Ibarra were mentioned as a couple of new faces to watch for Homedale this season.
Up in Weiser, the Wolverines return plenty of experience, just like the vast majority of the conference.
“I think we are more experienced and talented then we were a year ago. Some of our kids have put in a lot of time to get better, but I also know the top three teams in our league didn’t lose much, so we are up against that battle as well,” said Adolfson.
First Team All-Conference guard Braden Bumgarner will provide much of the scoring punch for Weiser, with Tim Reed, Hayden Wilson-Palmer and Angel Magana all capable inside threats.
The returners are joined by a good group of incoming players to varsity like Brett Spencer, Justin Estes, Caleb Harris and Nate Lattin that should give the team more depth than last year.
“I am excited to see what newcomers step up. We have good student-athletes in our program right now. I am counting on great team chemistry, and using that as a building block to our success this season,” added Adolfson. “We are a motion based offensive team that relies on movement to free our shooters and provide opportunities for us to score. Defensively we want to be a pressure defense, both when we are playing man and zone.”
Payette was selected fifth out of five teams in the preseason coaches poll and loses a large chunk of talent from last year, in addition to welcoming in a new head coach in Mike Boudreau.
It will be a challenge for the Pirates against some of the upper echelon teams in the 3A SRV this season, as the team looks to rebuild with a new-look core under a new coach.