2A Western Idaho Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Cole Valley Christian High School
Nampa Christian High School
Melba High School
New Plymouth High School
McCall-Donnelly High School
Marsing High School
Vision Charter High School
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Maddie Cook, Cole Valley Christian
Jessie Wood, Nampa Christian
Ella DeJong, Nampa Christian
Kate Clark, Melba
Kortney Trappett, Melba
Alyssa Christensen, New Plymouth
Jessica Jones, McCall-Donnelly
Autumn Bennett, Marsing
Written by: Katie Knight
The Cole Valley Christian High School girl’s basketball team is under new leadership with Annie Mintz entering her first season as the head coach. The Chargers were the clear preseason favorites among the WIC coaches. Returning varsity players Maddie Cook, Anna Veeck and Lindsay Krogh will set the tone for Mintz and look to rally their teammates for a trip to the state tournament.
Nampa Christian Head Coach Jamie Wood is excited about the depth of his team.
“We will be playing a lot of girls,” Wood said. “With fresh bodies coming off the bench the entire game.”
Six of his seven returning players will be seniors and all at varying positions. Leading the charge will be Ella DeJong, Jessie Wood, Emme Taylor, Kennedy Lacy, Olivia Cervantes, and Avery Wiles.
The Melba Mustangs know they will have a challenge in replacing their school’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals, Emma Clark.
“Replacing everything Emma brought to our team last year as a ball handler and leader is not something we can do with just one player,” said Head Coach David Lenz. “I know Kortney Trappett and Kate Clark have been preparing all off-season to do so together.”
Both Trappett, a senior guard and Clark, a junior guard, were first-team WIC in 2019. As the 2019 WIC champions and state runner up, Lenz knows the WIC conference is better overall from last year and is expecting every game to be competitive. He will have to rely on younger athletes to play big minutes for his team.
“I was encouraged by what I saw from them this summer and I know they have been working hard as well this season and [they] will be up for the challenge,” Lenz said.
There are plenty of younger players ready to fill their roles for Lenz. Incoming freshmen Kendall Clark, Keylee Wilson and Hallie Arnold impressed their coach during summer games and will join Telissa Christensen, Faith Svedin and Ember Svetich as they give the Melba team quality minutes.
Depth and experience will be a theme in the WIC this season. New Plymouth High School has head coach Denise Oliver is entering her 20th year with the program and plenty of experienced players leading her program. Oliver knows that if her team stays healthy, it will be competitive with any team in the conference.
“Almost everyone on this year’s team has a year of varsity experience,” Oliver said. “And if Alyssa stays healthy, we will have a talented 6-foot-2 girl inside and out.”
Having experience at the varsity level will help as the Pilgrims strive to put full-court pressure on every team they face. First-team WIC pick Denisse Palayo will lead at the point guard position and be surrounded by talented teammates: Harmony Hite, Kara Ethington, Emma Austin, Nicole Binggeli, Bailey Frates and Kerissa Rupp. Oliver is suiting up seven returning players and is pushing her team to improve from their 12-11 campaign in 2018-2019. The combination of athletic players, who have experience and chemistry, could be a difficult matchup for teams in the WIC.
The McCall-Donnelly Vandals will lean on team leader and All-Conference Honorable Mention selection Jessica Jones. Brooke Richardson and Jaeda Moyer will bring added varsity experience for a balanced squad. Cody Hansen is returning at the helm for his sixth season and is hoping his athletic team will create match up difficulties in the conference.
“We have become more of a fast-break team in the last couple years,” Hansen said. “We are trying to take that last step to make it a big part of our identity.”
Creating the fast tempo game will start with the Vandals applying pressure on the defensive end and creating turnovers. Hansen knows it comes down to the teams that play the best on any given night and wants his team to be in the mix come tournament time.
If teams are built in the offseason, then Marsing High School has put in the work to build a competitive run for 2019-2020. Second-year Head Coach Gloria Nagel is expecting her squad to be competitive from the first tip-off. Seniors Autumn Bennett and Jessica Sevy led their team as they competed in over 40 summer league games and have helped the newcomers hit the floor running. Adding to her returners of Sevy and Bennett will be Jade Wainman, Alana Larrusea and Delaney Percifield who all had some varsity minutes last year.
“We are looking to play quick and smart, with a pressure defense,” Nagel said. “We have big plans this year.”
Coach Nagel wants to use a ‘90s style offense similar to Stockton and Malone while she pushes her team to “run faster and work harder” as they look to surprise the teams in the WIC.