Kuna High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Joe Kleffner
Years as Head Coach: 5th overall / 2nd this time around
Record Last Year: 12-10
State Titles: 1999
Jake Johnson Forward 12 6'5"
Kyle Keenan Post 12 6'3"
Kyler Ray Forward 12 6'3"
Taylor Barton Guard 12 6'3"
Dilian Rowe Forward 12 6'3"
Returning Players with Honors:
Jake Johnson was conference player of the year last year
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Gavin Patterson Post inside presence
Ben Rogers Guard Shooting ability
Jamison Tolbert Guard Defensive play
Incoming “impact” players:
Zackery Barton 10 Guard 6'1"
Written by: Chris Langrill
The race to the 4A Southern Idaho Conference boys basketball championship figures to be a tight one this season.
Bishop Kelly is seen as a slight favorite, but no one is counting out Kuna.
And why would they?
After all, Kuna won the regular season championship last season. And the Kavemen will once again feature Jake Johnson, last season's conference player of the year. The 6-foot-5 forward was a powerful presence last season, and he figures to stand tall again this year as a senior.
On the flip side, however, Kuna lost three key players to graduation: Ben Rogers was a first-team, all-conference performer, and Gavin Patterson and Jamison Tolbert each were honorable mentions.
But Kuna will still have some experience to lean on. The Kavemen return four other seniors who are in the 6-foot-3 range.
“We are tall and long,” said Kuna coach Joe Kleffner, who is in his second straight season at the helm and fifth overall.
That length should serve Kuna well around the rim. But Kleffner said he will continue to preach to his players that they need to stay within the system that the Kavemen run.
“We need to improve on our offensive execution and situational awareness,” Kleffner said.
But Kleffner added that his players bring some athleticism to both sides of the court.
“We have speed and quickness,” he said.
Kuna opened the season 1-2 against three 5A opponents, as of this writing, with their win coming over Meridian. Johnson has continued to be a top scorer and forward Kyler Ray has been hitting the boards hard.
There is still plenty of basketball to be played in December, but the schedule really heats up in January, when the chase for the conference title goes into high gear.
The outcome of that chase remains to be seen, but Kleffner said he's confident that his players will bring the right attitude to the gym, day in and day out.
"They are a bunch of good kids who work hard and I enjoy going to practice every day,· he said.