2. St. Maries
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Camden Barger, Grangeville
Zoe Lutz, Grangeville
Jenna Holder, St. Maries
Shayla Shuman, Orofino
2A Central Idaho Conference Preview
Written by Brandon Hill
Northern teams, far and away from the bright lights and microscopic analysis of the Treasure Valley, always prove difficult to judge before the season gets into full swing.
But with five straight wins to open 2019, the Grangeville Bulldogs look far and away to be the most talented in the 2A Central Idaho Conference.
The Bulldogs earned a trip to state following a 16-7 campaign under the direction of head coach Michelle Barger. Flanked by assistant coaches Megan Turner and Brittany Ebert, the Grangeville coaching staff will lean heavily on the talents of Camden Barger, a CIL all-league player last season.
Camden, who also earned a state honorable mention, broke out onto the scene a year ago, setting a program record for most 3s in a season with 40, most assists at 87 and most points with 270. Those kinds of numbers don’t come without superior ball-handling skills and deadly accuracy, as Camden nailed 47.2% of her baskets during the 2018-2019 season.
But the talent doesn’t stop at just Barger. Michelle said sophomore point guard Bailey Vanderwall and sophomore guard Zoe Lutz provide valuable experience and bring balance to a team ready to take the next step.
“What I like about our team this year is that we really like to play defense,” Michelle said. “We also like to push the ball offensively.”
The Bulldogs also welcome senior Makalya Roberts up from the JV squad, who Michelle identified as a lethal threat from 3.
“I am most excited for our team chemistry. We have girls that want to win and compete hard,” Michelle said. “We made it to state last year and the girls want to win state this year. We have key players that started last year and will be a threat again this year.”
Chasing the prolific Grangeville offense, Orofino and St. Maries are attempting to knock off the dominant Bulldogs and punch their own ticket to state.
The Lumberjacks finished 2018-2019 at 12-10, highlighted by a six-game run early in the season. But St. Maries stumbled to end the season, losing five of its last six matchups, with the lone win coming against Orofino 47-14.
The Maniacs had a similar finish to last season, also losing their last five of six, highlighted by a 50-47 nailbiter against Kamiah.