Homedale High School
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
Head Coach: Joe Betancourt
Years as Head Coach: 3rd season
Previous Experience: Nampa High for five years
Record Last Year: 19-6
State Titles: 1980
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #30 Hattie Mertz
Written by: Vince Trimboli
With nine of their 12 players back from a squad that finished third at state last year, there is no masking expectations for the Homedale girls.
“We know there are high expectations. We expect that,” said third year head coach Joe Betancourt.
Expectations are fueled in part by guard Tory Lane. The junior averaged 11-points, four-rebounds and two-steals a game last year. This season Bettancort expects even more.
“For her to do everything she did last year and just be better at it. She improved over the summer. Her defense will be better. Her distribution of the ball will be better this year,” he said. “If her shot is not falling, she knows she has to take it to the basket and either shoot or pass.”
Homedale is anything but a one player show. Senior point guard Morgan Nash improved her shooting and her ability to get to the get to the basket, which will take pressure off Lane. Senior guard Elise Shenk is a shooting and driving threat.
The only Achilles heel for Homedale may be depth in the post, but not quality. Senior post Hattie Mertz will have to step up with the graduation loss of Kaylee Rupp. Mertz (5-foot-10) is active inside and can score with her back to the basket.
Senior post Gardenia Machuca adds a unique rebounding and scoring presence inside. At 5-foot-6, Machuca makes up for the lack of height with uncanny offensive rebounding instincts.
Bettancourt said junior guard Tristan Corta improve her shooting and is a key defender. Corta and Shenk will guard other team’s best player. Junior guard Makayla Aberasturi is the “best shooter in entire program,” according to Bettancourt.
The Trojans will be deep at guard. With seven senior and four juniors they will also be deep on experience which will lead to a lot of freedom on the court.
“I’m going to let them play this year because their veterans,” Bettancourt said. “We’ll be small and quick. Almost every team we play is going to be bigger than us. So we’re going to have to be creative and put our girls in spots to get open shots. If they can beat their defender one-on-one, they can go ahead and drive or they can stop and shoot.”
Fruitland, Weiser, Parma, Emmett are all expected to contend in the 3A Snake River Valley Conference, but none of the those coaches or Bettancourt are shy about who is the team to beat.
“They expect it. I expect it.” he said. “But we still have to go out and do it now. We have to stay injury free and that’s out of our hands.”