1AD2 Sawtooth Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Lighthouse Christian
5. Camas County
9. Sun Valley Community School
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tyler Munsee, Junior, Lighthouse Christian
Karsten Brandsma, Junior, Lighthouse Christian
Brady Power, Sophomore, Dietrich
Andy Power, Senior, Dietrich
Hunter Smith, Sophomore, Carey
Carson Simpson, Junior, Carey
Guillermo Zavala, Senior, Murtaugh
Trey Smith, Junior, Camas County
Remington Kramer, Senior, Camas County
Paxton Stimpson, Senior, Hansen
AB Salas, Junior, Hagerman
With Dietrich and Carey getting younger and Lighthouse Christian gaining experience and bringing in new talent, it may be as competitive towards the top of the Sawtooth as it has been in recent memory.
Second Team All-Conference center Karsten Brandsma is back for the Lions in addition to talented backcourt duo Collin Holloway and Alex Shetler to give a nice inside-out combination.
Tyler Munsee and Clay Silva also join the roster and provide good athleticism and shooting ability.
“There will be a lot of similar names, but their skills and size will be extremely different than last year,” said Lighthouse Christian head coach Tony Standlee. “The core of this team started playing together as sixth, seventh and eighth graders and have played together ever since. They have an extremely strong skill set at every position and we have a very deep bench. A lot of our juniors have started now multiple years already on varsity and are ready to come into a leadership role for us. I look for all of our juniors to step up and play huge roles.”
Other coaches expect the Lions to be a tough out as well.
“They are well-coached and picked up a transfer who will be a pretty dominant post, along with a complement of good shooters,” added Camas County head coach Jamon Frostenson.
With the talent in place, the team expects to keep the pace high on both sides of the floor.
“We will look to run and have a high-tempo game. We will mix in loads of different sets and pick and rolls, but look to keep a high-octane up and down game. Defensively we will play multiple different defenses, but will end up hanging our hats on two or three go-to defenses,” added Standlee.
As always, Dietrich should be right in the mix again with their own version of up-tempo basketball.
Between the losses of Slade Dill and Kade Shaw, the Blue Devils will have to replace over 40 points per game of scoring production, meaning talent like Raygn Robertson, Andy Power, Brady Power, Tel Shaw and others will need to step up in a big way.
“We have pretty good skill sets, though not combined with Slade’s length or Kade’s quickness. We lack height,” said Dietrich head coach Wayne Dill. “We run on offense. We are a proven quick-strike threat every time we have the ball. As a team, we handle the ball very well and we play pretty good defense. We need to develop a consistent rebounder and improve our shooting.”
There’s a clear source of optimism for the coach.
“The opportunity for a group of unheralded players to come together as a team. It will be fun to see who decides to step into a needed role,” explained Dill.
Payden Zimmers and Kyler Robertson are a couple of other players to watch for the Blue Devils.
“They will have a young core, but if they buy into the Dietrich brand of basketball they can be very good,” added Standlee.
With Hunter Smith and Carson Simpson leading the way, Carey will have a much different look than a year ago as it looks to continue to remain towards the top of the conference standings.
Carey will be challenged by Guillermo Zavala and Murtaugh as well, with both teams having aspirations of making a run at a state berth.
Camas County was selected fifth in the preseason coaches poll and has a tough to defend duo leading the way.
“We have a very motivated core group and skilled players at each position this season. The chemistry of this group has improved dramatically and they are going to perform at a much higher intensity this season. Trey Smith and Remington Kramer are going to be almost impossible to stop from scoring this season and thankfully we have other players ready to step up to keep the defense honest,” said Coach Frostenson.
Jaydon Rossman and Breken Clark are a couple of the other pieces mentioned by the coach that will make an impact.
“We are going to be a much better defensive team this season. With some height and jumpers in the back and quick guards up front, we are going to be difficult to score against. On offense, we are going to push the ball hard and have better patience when running our offense,” added Frostenson.
Hansen is looking to build on a ten win campaign last year with starters Paxton Stimpson and Jonny Camerillo back to lead the way.
Ramon Sanchez, Cruz Huizar, Dylon Thompson and Sam Wayment will also see time as well for the Huskies.
“Players have had me as a coach now for a year and understand the expectations I have of them. Summer ball was a great success for us also,” said Hansen head coach Nick Gonzales. “Excited to see the improvement they started as a team last year.”
Gonzales says he will have the team playing man-to-man defense with an emphasis on the other end of the floor to quicken up the pace a little bit from last season.
Another team that could make a run at things is Hagerman, which drops down from 1AD1, where it struggled last season on the way to a 7-15 record.
The Pirates are in a work in progress and should improve as the year goes on.
“Working on a whole new offensive and defensive system. We have a lot of players that have never played before. It is going to be a learning year for us all,” said Hagerman head coach Cody Nelson.
A quartet of juniors will see heavy minutes for Nelson including AB Salas, Chris Belem, Derek Herrington and Bryant Osborne.
“We are wanting to be more of a run and gun team this year,” added Nelson.
Castleford, Sun Valley Community School and Richfield were voted in the eight through ten spots in the preseason coaches poll this year and will be looking to increase their win totals from a year ago.