3A Snake River Valley Conference Preview
Written by Jake Caccavaro
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Hyrum Lindsey, Fruitland
DJ Smith, McCall-Donnelly
Brett Spencer, Weiser
Isaiah Krohn, Parma
Jarod Krohn, Parma
Jaxon Dines, Homedale
Mason Strong, Homedale
Last year in the 3A Snake River Valley League it was Fruitland at the top, Payette at the bottom and a jumble in the middle competing for second place. There’s a good chance history will repeat itself in the 2020-21 season.
Defending SRV champion Fruitland is the team to beat again, but the Grizzlies suffered some heavy losses due to graduation. Eight players, to be exact. There’s still an abundance of talent on the roster, but it could take a few games for the chemistry to fully develop.
“Our recent teams have had great chemistry,” said co-head coach Willie Lake. “Guys really cared about the success of their teammates. If we could take one thing from the last group it would be how much they cared about each other.
Hyrum Lindsey is back for his senior year and he’ll once again lead the Grizzlies on offense. An All-SRV and 3A All-State selection last year, Lindsey is the crux of a Fruitland team that came a game away from a state championship appearance.
Senior guards Dylon Watson and Dawson McGraw will lead the Grizzlies’ backcourt, and junior forward Nolan Bower joins Lindsey on the wing for what should be a high-powered offense. However, with some new faces in the starting lineup, the offense might look a little different.
“We did not shoot the ball well from the perimeter,” Lake said. “This allowed teams to play us a certain way. With our younger kids that will be new to the varsity level, we think teams will have to guard more of the floor.”
Fresh off a state tournament appearance last year, Homedale is going to look a bit different. The Trojans lost five players to graduation, but they won’t be entirely bereft of talent.
First team All-SRV sophomore guard Jaxon Dines returns after a stellar freshman season, and All-SRV honorable mention sophomore guard Mason Strong will form the other half of the Trojans’ elite backcourt duo. Guard Hayden Kincheloe is someone to keep an eye on as well; the junior could earn a spot in the starting lineup as a third guard.
A number of new faces will get their chances to earn playing time, and if some of the newcomers are able to hold their own on varsity, Homedale should once again be in the mix for a state tournament bid. If the Trojans want to make the playoffs again, it’s going to need an uptick in offensive production.
“We’re looking to score more this year,” said second-year head coach Cam Long. “Our defense was very good last year, but we struggled at times to score.”
In his eighth season as the head coach at Weiser High School, Brad Adolfson is in for a complete rebuild. The Wolverines lost 12 seniors to graduation, almost their entire roster.
“We graduated 12 seniors so we will miss everyone,” Adolfson said. “Andre Jensen’s ability to shoot the ball, Tim Reed’s leadership and Angel Magana’s all-around hustle plays and toughness will be missed, along with our floor general Justin Estes.”
Luckily for Adolfson, he’s still got a centerpiece to build around. Second team All-SRV guard Brett Spencer is back, and the junior is the Wolverines’ only player with a legitimate amount of varsity experience. However, that means Spencer will have to handle the overwhelming brunt of duty, especially on offense.
“Our student athletes will all be put to a new test this year,” Adolfson said. “With only having one player with a ton of varsity experience, we will be counting on a whole new crop of players. Our JV program had a ton of success last year and we are counting on that to carry into this season.”
Led by Spencer, Weiser should be a good shooting team again this year, but a lack of experience and an undersized rotation will hurt the Wolverines on the boards.
It was just four years ago that Parma won a state title, but those aren’t reasonable expectations anymore. After a middling season in which it hovered around the .500 mark for most of the year, Parma is back and in the middle of the pack once again.
The Panthers lost Kyle Powers and Stetson Beus to graduation, but they’ll return All-SRV honorable mention Isaiah Krohn. The senior guard should have a strong pick-and-roll partner in senior post Jarod Krohn, which could help alleviate some of Parma’s scoring issues.
Parma finished 10-12 on the season last year and 4-6 in conference. Although Isaiah Krohn is primed for a potential All-SRV season, it would be surprising if the Panthers’ 2020-21 season didn’t mirror last year’s.
Payette suffered through a long, difficult season last year, finishing nearly winless at 1-21. But after losing just one senior and returning its entire starting lineup, that shouldn’t be the case for the Pirates this time around.
Junior guard Max Walters is back to lead the Payette offense with primary ball-handling duties, and twin-towers big men junior Cace Lewis and senior Miguel Ceballos are both returning and will roam around in the paint.
With the addition of junior guard Zander Allen and sophomore center Brennon Hutchins to varsity, fourth-year head coach Mike Boudreau is excited for the next step his team should be able to take.
“Payette’s atmosphere and tenacity grows every year,” Boudreau said. “And with returning all of our starters from last year, [it] should make for an exciting season.”
Fresh off a 13-7 season and in its first year in the SRV, McCall-Donnelly should be the favorite to challenge Fruitland for Snake River Valley supremacy.
Five of the Vandals’ seven losses last year were all by single digits, so a few extra made shots here and there and they could have found themselves in the state tournament.
This will be McCall-Donnelly’s first year in a 3A conference, as the Vandals reclassified over the offseason and moved out of the 2A Western Idaho Conference. Although it consisted of smaller schools, the WIC was a strong conference last year and should be adequate preparation for the Vandals’ move into 3A.
Although the rest of the SRV coaches have done their research on McCall, most of the league’s coaches know that the Vandals bring to the table a bit of mystery.
“I believe everybody in our conference would say McCall [could be the biggest surprise],” Willie Lake said. “They are the unknown. I don’t believe any of us are very familiar with what they are going to bring to the table. We know they have a very good coach. We are familiar with them that way having played them at a previous coaching stop.”