Raft River High School
Conference: 1AD1 Snake River Conference
Classification: 1A D1
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Raft River High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Brian Poole
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: 6 Years in Nevada
1 Year in Wyoming
Record Last Year: 18-6
State Titles: 1986
Braxton Poole, 12, F
Christian Lloyd, 12, C
Chris Harper, 12, G
Rylee Spencer, 11, G
Key Players lost from last year:
Kolten Hitt, G, leading scorer and All-Conference
Kayden Hitt, G, All-Conference
Incoming impact players:
Justin Schumann, 10, F
Cutler Erickson, 11, F
Keegan Chatburn, 11, F
Zach Powers, 11, G
Written by: Sven Alskog
1AD1 Snake River Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Raft River
4. Glenns Ferry
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jason Hardy, Junior, Valley
Ben Christensen, Senior, Valley
Zane Mussmann, Senior, Valley
Wacey Williams, Junior, Glenns Ferry
Caleb Owsley, Senior, Hagerman
Jayden Palmer, Senior, Oakley
Gannon Critchfield, Junior, Oakley
Chandler Jones, Sophomore, Oakley
Braxton Poole, Senior, Raft River
Valley was the lone representative out of district four into the 1AD1 state tournament last year, but two teams are locked in to the dance this time around, and with that the conference looks to have some teams towards the top with potential to represent well.
The Vikings enter the season as preseason favorites in the coaches poll, led by All-Conference returners Ben Christensen and Zane Mussmann, along with Jason Hardy and Miguel Farfan.
As is the case with many of the 1AD1 teams state-wide, the Vikings will have to replace some talented seniors.
Alex Korom, Adam Elorrieta and Nic Anderson can all be expected to help fill the shoes as the trio enters its senior season.
“Great bunch of guys to work with. Excellent team chemistry, unselfish attitudes, willing to work hard to get better,” said Valley head coach Brian Hardy.
To improve upon the 17-8 mark from last season, the Vikings will rely on a versatile group of players who allow flexibility in playing whatever style matches up best with the opponent that day.
“I believe we have the versatility to win games in different ways this year. I think we can get up and down the court, but we can also grind out a half-court game. We want to be difficult to match-up with and unpredictable. We will play man and zone and try to score inside and out,” added Hardy.
As the season gets started, Oakley is right there with Valley atop the preseason coaches poll.
The Hornets have a new head coach in Juan Rodriguez, who has previously had stops at Sho-Ban, Blackfoot, Century and North Fremont.
Things look good for the team, with outstanding guard Jayden Palmer leading the way and six-foot-six Gannon Critchfield his go-to option down-low on the block.
To make things even more difficult for opponents, the Hornets also have six-foot-six center Slater Sagers ready to go for his junior year.
Early in the season Oakley may have some growing pains due to missing some players with injuries, but expect the team to continue to gel and improve as they grow accustomed to Rodriguez and his coaching style.
“Chandler Jones and Caleb Arnell’s roles will increase dramatically as sophomores this year with the loss of six seniors. Jayden Palmer and Gannon Critchfield will take the reins as captains of the team,” said Rodriguez.
Raft River lost about as much as anybody in the conference with the graduation of the Hitt’s. Kolten was the leading scorer for the Trojans and earned All-Conference accolades, while Kaden was selected All-Conference as well.
“We have a lot of work cut out for us, but if we work hard and together we can be a competitive team every night. After graduating two players that have been our main players for three years it will give new kids a chance to step up,” said Raft River head coach Brian Poole.
Senior interior options Braxton Poole and Christian Lloyd lead the team on the inside, with Chris Harper and Rylee Spencer a couple of returning guards.
The Trojans will go as far as their sophomores and juniors will take them, with a good group in place there.
“We will have athletic kids on court, so we want to play great defense, be aggressive on the boards and run the court. We need to improve on our shooting and ball handling,” added Poole.
Other coaches think the Trojans can remain a tough matchup.
“They lost the Hitt twins and Wacey Holtman, but they have some good young players,” said Hagerman head coach Joe Keeney.
Glenns Ferry went 9-13 last season and ended with a three-game losing streak, so should be hungry to finish strong this time around.
“They have a dangerous combination of height and quickness. They didn’t finish the way they wanted to last year and I think they will be hungry,” added Hardy.
Junior guard Wacey Williams is the go-to threat for the Pilots, who will have to replace leading scorer Carlos Gastelum.
Shaye Grisham and Carson Grigg are strong options from the forward position.
“Several key players have put in great offseason work and we have decent size,” said Glenns Ferry head coach Nate Jones.
The style is one people have come to expect from the team.
“Pressure defense and an attack the basket mentality. We need to improve on our consistency and toughness,” added Jones.
Hagerman welcomes in new head coach Joe Keeney, who takes over for a team that went 4-16 a year ago.
“Offensively I would like to push the ball up-court, and defensively we are fairly long so we should have a rebounding edge on most teams we play,” said Keeney.
Caleb Owsley and Terrell Wise provide the senior leadership for the Pirates. Some of the younger incoming impact players are sophomore forward Bryant Osborne and sophomore point guard Chris Belem.
In year one the expectations are realistic.
“We have to win the games we should win and play unconscious in some we aren’t supposed to win,” said Keeney.
The Shoshone Indians have a quality coach in Garr Ward and are hoping to take the next step after winning 17 games last season.
“On film their lowerclassmen have good chemistry and get after it,” said Rodriguez.
“They are a well-coached team,” added Poole.