2A Western Idaho Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Cole Valley Christian
5. New Plymouth
6. Nampa Christian
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ricky Golenor, Senior, Cole Valley Christian
Dylan Krogh, Senior, Cole Valley Christian
Dillon Wilkinson, Senior, McCall-Donnelly
Enrique Quebrado, Senior, Marsing
Jacob Ankeny, Sophomore, Marsing
Caleb Fong, Junior, Melba
Kaden Leslie, Senior, New Plymouth
Jimmy Riggs, Senior, New Plymouth
Joe Ihli, Junior, Nampa Christian
It is a deep field full of talented squads this season in the 2A Western Idaho Conference, with no off nights in sight for any of the six teams.
Cole Valley Christian enters as the preseason favorite behind the merits of First Team All-Conference guard Ricky Golenor and Second Team All-Conference forward Nathan Wetzel.
For the Chargers, Dylan Krogh and Josh Cucchiari are other returners, with Noah Corder, Ryan Olson and Hunter Gill all ready to step into big roles.
“I anticipate this team to be more potent than last year’s team, especially as we dictate the pace of the game,” said Cole Valley Christian head coach Brennan Koch.
Athleticism is something that also helps give the Chargers a leg up on their competition.
“Our speed and chemistry have increased. By adding young scorers and a physical center to some veteran players, we will be ready to compete again. Defensively, we are fast and can press the whole floor if we want. Offensively, we can spread teams out,” added Koch.
McCall-Donnelly brought in some size in the offseason and should be a tough out as well in the 2A WIC.
“McCall-Donnelly has two transfers that will start on a solid team that returns many players from last year’s very competitive team,” said Marsing head coach Tim Little.
“They will be better than advertised,” added Koch.
While the Vandals do have to replace graduated posts Ben Knudson and Kaden Deluna, the talent that does return and a 6-foot-11-inch post should help mitigate those losses.
Marsing will have a different look than McCall-Donnelly, with an offensive attack centered around dynamic scorer Enrique Quebrado, who averaged 17 points per game last season and was a First Team All-Conference selection.
Quebrado is joined by returning post Jacob Ankeny, a sophomore who led the team in rebounding a year ago, and fellow returners Dwight Sevy and Merrick Hall.
“Seven returning lettermen [with] experience. Should be a better executing team and solid perimeter defenders,” said Little.
The Huskies will play a patient style on the offensive side of the floor in an attempt to get everyone involved and get easy shots.
For the first time in 20 years the Melba Mustangs will have a new man on the sideline, as Bob Lenz gives way to first year head coach Spencer Trappett.
Trappett takes over a team with good depth that will look to run the floor when the opportunity arises.
Honorable Mention All-Conference guard Caleb Fong returns and is joined in the backcourt by Dillon Bodily. Easton Bunnell is a player to watch on the interior, along with Henry Clark and Trey Wilson.
“We will be much deeper than we were last season. We will have more options on the offensive end of the floor than last year. We will be younger than last year, mostly filled with juniors,” said Trappett.
With athletes and shooters all over the floor, the Mustangs will have a good perimeter offense.
“This year’s team will be exciting to watch due to our shooting ability and a post presence, which we haven’t had the last couple of years. We will also have a deep bench that we can go to. We will play a fast-paced offense with the ability to slow it down and make you defend. On defense will be play several different schemes to keep the opponent guessing,” added Trappett.
Jace Logan is a junior guard that is expected to make an impact as well this year in Melba.
In the second year on the sideline for New Plymouth head coach Jeff Lavender, the Pilgrims appear to be much improved.
“It’s my second season with the team, so we are all on the same page now. We will be a much improved team, with two starters back and two others who saw significant time. Kaden Leslie will be a big scorer for us. He averaged 11 points, while making 62 three-pointers. Jimmy Riggs will be one of the best rim protectors in the state at 6-foot-7-inches and 200 pounds. Nick Woods will be an offensive force in the paint for us. At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, he will be tough to stop. Derek Hampton will be one of our best outside shooters after a solid sophomore season last year,” said Lavender.
Guards Jesus Valdez, Travis Jackson and Charles Butler and forward Cooper Hicks are some new faces to watch that should make large impacts as well.
“We will be one of the best defensive teams in the state. With our size and strength, it will be hard for teams to score. Offensively, we are a lot better, and that is the main reason we will be a much better team. We have outside shooters and two big guys that can score on the inside,” added Lavender.
Nampa Christian enters the first year of the Nathan Rex era on the sideline after five seasons under head coach Randy Brothers.
Seven key seniors graduated from the roster of a year ago for the Trojans, so it will be a much less experienced group this time around led by Joe Ihli.