Snake River Valley Conference Preview
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Grace Jackson, Parma
Adyson Harris, Parma
Lilly Richins, Fruitland
Abby Smith, Fruitland
Marissa Moyle, Weiser
Lea Menchaca, Payette
Gracie Dines, Homedale
Written by Brandon Hill
Seventeen points were all that separated Parma from a state championship in 2019.
Against the Sugar-Salem Diggers, the Panthers fell short 57-40 after losing just a pair of games all year. But the 23-3 finish to the season didn’t halt the momentum for Parma and Head Coach Micahel Calkins.
The Panthers return eight of the 10 starters that made it to the state championship game last year, including Adyson Harris and Grace Jackson, first-team all-SRV members in 2019. Even without the dominating presence of Madison Jackson, last year’s 3A state player of the year, Calkins said this year’s group has the potential to reach even higher heights.
“This team has the potential to be just as talented as last year’s team,” he said. “ Losing Madison Jackson and Courtney Weber will sting for a bit, but these girls will step up and fill those roles in no time.”
The Panthers, according to Calkins, excel in the paint with stingy, turnover-focused defense and quick transitions. However, if Parma does want to take that next step, Calkins said his team needs to improve shooting from 3.
The Panthers separated themselves from the pack after Weiser, who earned second place in the preseason coaches poll, fell to an 0-5 record to start the season.
Despite the rough start, first-year head coach Laraine Harrison said her team has adapted well to her coaching style.
“Defensively, we like to mix it up with different styles of defense. We use some man and some zone,” Harrison said. “We need to be better at taking care of the ball offensively and not getting into foul trouble defensively.”
The Wolverines aren’t the only SRV going through the adapting stage following a head coaching change. Rashell LeBow currently leads Payette, hoping to turn a debut season into a breakout season after the Pirates finished a meager 2-22 last year.
The Pirates welcome back a pair of all-conference honorable mentions in Lea Menchaca and Madisyn Collingwood, adding to an already experienced lineup consisting of seven seniors.
Under the direction of Clay Hatfield, yet another first-year SRV head coach, the Homedale Trojans will look to take the leap past a 13-12 2019 season and compete for a conference title.
But graduation plagued a talented Homedale team in the offseason, as Hatfield enters the job down all five starters and two on the bench. But in their place, seniors Gracie Dines, Delaney Dorsey and Savana Buckley will try and help their team recover from an early five-game slide in which the Trojans found themselves in a negative-50-point differential.
“We lost a lot to graduation last year, but have a solid core of senior leaders,” Hatfield said. “We also have some JV players from last year that are going to make an impact on varsity this year.”
Solidly in the middle of the pack, the Fruitland Grizzlies are on the hunt to get back into a rhythm, after winning their first game of the season against New Plymouth. But since that point, November was not kind to the Grizzlies, who let three straight games slip through their paws, putting them in the lower ranks in the SRV.