3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dawson Cummins, Junior, Kimberly
Kaden Perron, Senior, Filer
Adam Lauda, Senior, Buhl
Garrett Bowman, Senior, Buhl
Cayden Loveland, Senior, Gooding
Kimberly represented the 3A SCIC well at state last season, making a trip to the state championship. The Bulldogs again enter the new campaign as the favorites in the preseason conference coaches poll this year in what looks to be a good battle for the top spot.
All five starters have departed due to graduation for Kimberly however, meaning plenty of new faces will need to step up in a big way. Fortunately, a good percent of those pieces received playing time on the varsity roster a year ago, meaning there is more experience on the roster than you would think on the surface.
“Even though none of the returners were starters last year, they did gain valuable experience during our state run. Many also were on our football team who made it to the state semifinals. These kids are expecting to win, and that winning attitude is so important,” said Kimberly head coach Daren Garey.
Second Team All-Conference guard Dawson Cummins is the returner with the most experience, with Tristyn O’Donnell, Braxton Hammond, Andrew Satterfield and Blake Phillips all ready to step into larger roles around him.
Peyton Bair and Brant Etherington were mentioned as key newcomers.
“We are more athletic than last year’s team. We have some talented kids who will need to adjust to their different roles. Cummins was an important scorer who often was defended by teams’ third or fourth best defender. This year he will see the best. O’Donnell gives more of an inside scoring presence than we had last year. Last year’s team was more guard oriented, where this year’s team is more balanced offensively,” added Garey.
He likes the athleticism of the group.
“We have a very athletic group that can get up and down the court. More importantly, we have some of the best natural rebounders that I have coached. Because of this, if we can contest shots, we can limit teams to one shot and then be off to the races. A big key for us will be who will step up in the leadership role.”
Filer and Buhl should also provide a good challenge for conference supremacy for Kimberly.
The Wildcats have Robert Anderson back for his second year on the sideline with a very different look to the roster. That leaves some mystery as to how the team will look this season.
“With all the new faces it’s hard to say, but I like how we finished the summer and want to build from there,” said Anderson. “We are pretty well-rounded and have kids that want to push the ball. Defensively we want to put pressure on teams and make them play hard for 32 minutes.”
Post Kaden Perron and guards Tanner Sullivan and Miguel Perez are some of the players expected to make large impacts this year for Filer.
Buhl was picked third in the preseason poll and boasts some good length and experience for head coach Dan Winn.
“Buhl is the probably the favorite, as they have everyone back from last year’s team,” said Garey.
The inside-out combination of post Adam Lauda and guard Garrett Bowman gives the Indians a couple of talented pieces who will keep the team in games throughout the year.
Gooding is coming off a three-win season last year and is hoping to see some progress within a tough conference this time around.
Leading the way for the Senators will again be All-Conference post Cayden Loveland, along with guards Shane Jennings and Jayden Mullins and post TJ Russell.
“We finally had a full summer of tournaments and camps that should help our team compete. Kids and parents made a commitment to get better this summer,” said Gooding head coach Chris Comstock.
Look for an aggressive style out of his team.
“We are aggressive and rebound the ball well. We will play up-tempo and attack the rim. Defensively we want to make the game hectic and as fast paced as possible,” added Comstock.
Guards Gavin Martin, Adam Baker and Skyler Cheney were mentioned as some new pieces to the varsity roster to watch this year.