McCall - Donnelly High School
Conference: 2A Western Idaho Conference
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McCall - Donnelly High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Jason Tinney
Record Last Year: 2-19
Kaden Deluna, 12, P
Ben Knudson, 12, P
Written by: Sven Alskog
2A Western Idaho Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Nampa Christian
2. Cole Valley Christian
6. New Plymouth
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Enrique Quebrado, Junior, Marsing
Justin Trappett, Senior, Melba
Dusty Rhodes, Senior, Nampa Christian
Ricky Golenor, Junior, Cole Valley Christian
Ben Knudson, Senior, McCall-Donnelly
Griffin Carson, Senior, Nampa Christian
Austin Robinson, Senior, New Plymouth
Kobe Phillips, Senior, Melba
Each night should give quality matchups in the 2A WIC this season, with teams top to bottom all capable of making a run at things.
Nampa Christian and Cole Valley Christian appear on paper to be the favorites, with Marsing also in the mix thanks to the return of junior guard Enrique Quebrado, the conference player of the year as a sophomore.
With all the experience back for Nampa Christian, the Trojans look like a force to be reckoned with.
The talent pool is led by seniors Dusty Rhodes and Griffin Carson, with some good size to compliment that inside-out duo in senior post Kamden Brothers and incoming junior post Matt Hinkle.
“We have a veteran squad that has been together for a long time. Our length and athleticism makes us a tough matchup,” said Nampa Christian head coach Randy Brothers.
He wants his team to get out in the open floor as much as possible.
“We run a fast-paced attack. We have a lot of length and athleticism and are balanced inside and out. We need to improve physicality and toughness of our team,” added Brothers.
The Cole Valley Christian Chargers are expected to be the primary challenger for conference supremacy, even after losing a strong senior class.
In the new season, with a couple of different faces leading the way, the Chargers will accelerate the pace more than in the past.
“This year’s team is moving to a faster tempo and wider floor spacing. We are intentionally building in schemes that will spread the floor and stress defenses. This is the highest IQ team I have coached here, and I can’t wait to watch them utilize that gift, especially as it pairs with our unity,” said Cole Valley head coach Brennan Koch.
The guard trio of Ricky Golenor, Blake Weimer and Nathan Wetzel will lead the charge for the high-paced attack, with Jacob Couch, Ryan Beglinger and Nathanael Fehringer some inside options.
“Our team focus is on unity this year. Our team has blended together in new roles really quickly, and I really think that I can play 12-deep when necessary. We are a team that has some length, but will hopefully be a challenging matchup, as our shooting guards are 6-foot-4, while our best rebounders are 6-foot or under. Nathanael Fehringer led the team in rebounding last year as a 5-foot-11 sixth man. He has the potential to effect games with his heart, hustle and rebounding,” added Koch.
Marsing has had as much turnover as any program in the conference, having lost eight seniors from a 9-11 team last season.
With Quebrado back, the Huskies should continue to stay competitive however.
“Although young, small and inexperienced, we have dedicated kids that have some basketball skills and love to be in the gym,” said Marsing head coach Tim Little.
Tyler Wood is another returner for the Huskies from the wing position, with the bulk of the rest of the roster built up with players who were on the JV squad which finished second at districts last season.
For a team without much size, controlling pace and style of play is crucial.
“We try to shorten up the game by being patient offensively and fundamental defensively. We will have to improve on controlling the boards due to our lack of size. Our group plays unselfishly,” added Little.
He acknowledges his team will be hoping for better luck avoiding the injury bug this time around.
“Stay healthy and without injuries. This plagued us last year. We also need continuous improvement throughout the season and a commitment from the players to dedicate the time needed to compete for a championship.”
“They have one of the league's best players and run a patient, disciplined attack,” added Brothers.
Melba has multiple quality players back as well and could be a sleeper team in the conference, despite losses of its own, especially on the interior.
First Team All-Conference performer Justin Trappett is back, along with Kobe Phillips, who had a great state tournament last season.
“We will have many young players on our varsity this year. We have been excited about our players focus in practice and hopefully we can improve as the season goes along. They are a fun group to work with,” said 20th year Melba head coach Bob Lenz.
He listed off three keys for the Mustangs to have the kind of year that they hope to have.
“We will have to rebound, play good defense and have great chemistry to be able to be competitive this year.”
McCall-Donnelly is an interesting team, with some good size on the interior in Kaden Deluna and Ben Knudson. For the Vandals to take the next step they will need huge breakout performances from the backcourt.
With those experienced athletes however comes success from the football season, something that should carry into the mindset on the hardwood as the Vandals look for winning success in the gym as well this winter.
New Plymouth welcomes in new head coach Jeff Lavender, an assistant the last four years at the College of Idaho.
The Pilgrims lost nine seniors from a state semifinal team last year, meaning post presence Austin Robinson and senior point guard Tanner Butler will have plenty of opportunities to lead this time around. Kaden Leslie is a shooting guard that could turn into a big scorer for New Plymouth.
“We need to get better every day. We are young and have no experience at the varsity level, so we have a long road ahead,” said Lavender.
There is no question what the strength of the roster is however; size. Now the key is turning some of the key cogs from the Pilgrims’ football team into impact performers on the hardwood as well.
“We are big and strong for a basketball team. We need to learn how to take care of the ball and find some offense,” added Lavender.
He’s optimistic for the new opportunity.
“We will be picked last, but I think we can shock people.”