Bonners Ferry High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Travis Hinthorn
Years as Head Coach: 12
Record Last Year: 18-9
Holly Ansley, G, Jr.
Baylee Blackmore, Post, Sr.
Grace Villelli, G, Sr.
Returning Players with Honors:
Holly Ansley, First-Team All-State, All-League
Baylee Blackmore, All-League
Key Players lost from last year:
Jerzie Pluid, Post, 6-foot-1, 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, plugged up the middle defensively
Maecie Liermann, G, good ball handler, helped break press, lockdown defender
Photo By: Steve Conner - #21 Holly Ansley
3. Bonners Ferry
4. Priest River
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Hailey Cheney, Kellogg
Jaron Figuroa, Kellogg
Holly Ansley, Bonners Ferry
Brooke Jessen, Timberlake
Taran Soumus, Timberlake
3A Intermountain League Preview
Written by Brandon Hill
In the last 15 years, Timberlake Head Coach Matt Miller has seen some of the best success in just recent seasons. The White Tigers took state championship titles back home to Spirit Lake in 2016 and 2017 but failed to make it past the quarterfinals in the last two years.
Miller, with a decade-and-a-half of coaching the White Tigers under his belt, said this year’s chemistry is among the best he’s ever seen.
“I am excited about how good the girls’ energy and chemistry has been so far in practice,” Miller said. “If they are able to maintain that, it could be a special season.”
Timberlake lost one of its best to graduation in guard McKeeley Tonkin, a four-year starter that helped lead the White Tigers to those back-to-back state championships early in her career. Tonkin and the rest of that graduated class finished high school with an 89-10 career record, a perfect example of the winning culture Miller has established at Timerblake.
Looking to carry the torch will be junior forward Brooke Jessen and junior point guard Taryn Soumas, with the added experience of senior guard Taylor Suko. Miller said while last year’s team struggled with rebounding, he believes this year’s squad can get those valuable boards as well as focus on better defensive efforts late in games.
White hot on the White Tigers’ heels are the Kellogg Wildcats. Despite an 11-11 finish in 2018, Head Coach Jana Nearing said Kellogg has the athleticism to go up against anyone in the state.
At Nearing’s disposal will be senior point guard Jaron Figueroa and sophomore post Hailey Cheney. Standing at 6-feet, Cheney averaged a double-double last season as a freshman, giving the Wildcats a valuable option underneath.
A strong returning cast coupled with the fact Kellogg played a large portion of last year with an injured squad means the Wildcats should be filled with nothing but hope and optimism heading into the new season.
“Last year we were plagued with injuries and illness, which ultimately caused us to miss an opportunity for state birth,” Nearing said. “This year, our goal is to emphasize physical health as we move through the season. We have a deep bench of versatile, quick and strong athletes.”
Staying healthy during the long season is always easier said than done, but with so many young playmakers donning the Kellogg uniform, Nearing’s squad could be a serious conference contender for years to come.
“If we can stay healthy, I think our opposition will have difficulty matching our depth,” Nearing said.
While Kellogg enjoys the riches of a deep bench, Bonners Ferry and Head Coach Travis Hinthorn are on the hunt for the next young Badger superstar.
Seniors Baylee Blackmore and Grace Villelli return for Bonners Ferry alongside junior guard Holly Ansley, a first-team all-state and all-league selection from a year ago.
With Ansley serving as the focal point of the Badgers’ success, Hinthorn said he will need to spread the ball out to more of his playmakers to keep defenses from keying in on Ansley’s skillset and throttling her production.
“We need to become more physical on defense and more aggressive on offense with all players looking to score, not just our scorers,” he said. “More players need to be a threat to drive and get to the free-throw line. For us to be successful, we need balanced scoring.”
Priest River, meanwhile, will be looking to overcome a 16-game losing streak that ended 2018-2019 for the Spartans. Defensive improvements will need to be key if the Spartans want to stay competitive, as Priest River allowed teams to score more than 50 points 13 times last season.