2A Nuclear Conference Preview
Written by Hailey Stewart
Players to Watch
Mackay Williams, Salmon
Sara Boone, Ririe
Jordyn Torgeson, West Jefferson
Cambree Hall, West Jefferson
Hailey Barker, Firth
Coming off a lackluster 2019-2020 season, with zero conference wins and a 5-18 overall record, the Salmon girls basketball team will look to bring a stronger showing to the curt this season.
Last season, Salmon’s girls team played with only juniors and sophomores. This year, many of those players will take on the 2A Nuclear Conference one last time and hope to post a better record with a new coach and a stronger sense of leadership.
In his first year as head coach, Rick Sessions said he will look to bring the team together along with new assistant coach Carla Nelson and Tamara Mathews.
“The girls struggled with the head coach last year,” Sessions said. “This year we want to be a unified team.”
Sessions said he and his team are most looking forward to their upcoming conference games.
While the team aims to gain more wins during conference play this season, Sessions said there is one aspect he hopes the team keeps from last year — the ability to work together on and off the court.
“Salmon is going to surprise the conference this year,” Sessions said. “They are going to realize their potential and play as a team.”
Sessions and his team will be on the lookout for star players from other conference opponents such as Ririe’s Sara Boone, West Jefferson’s Jordyn Torgeson and Cambree Hall, and Firth’s Hailey Barker.
Firth’s Girls Basketball Team posted a 6-2 conference record and a 15-9 overall record during the 2019-2020 season.
With a young and eager varsity team, Firth Head Coach Sharla Cook said the Cougars look forward to another strong season.
“We have a good group of young players who are working hard to make an impact this year,” Cook said.
The team aims to fill the spot left by graduated player Hailey Gee, a leading scorer and rebounder from the 2019-2020 season.
“She was a great contributor both offensively and defensively,” Cook said.
Several new senior players will step up to fill leadership roles on the court, such as senior point guard Hailey Barker, senior wing Cassi Robbins, senior post Kiley Mecham, senior wing-post Nicole McKinnon and senior wing Megan Jolley.
Along with those players, the Cougars have also enlisted Anthony Hansen as the varsity assistant coach.
Cook said she hopes the Cougars will bring back their defensive skills from the 2019-2020 season in order to perform well again this coming season.
Every team in the 2A Nuclear Conference will be a difficult matchup this season, Cook said. The Cougars will look to several key and competitive players from Ririe and West Jefferson going into each matchup.
“All Nuclear Conference matchups this year will be key,” Cook said. “Our conference will be tough and every league game will be important.”
Another team with a full lineup of senior players is Ririe. Similar to Firth, Ririe posted a 6-2 conference record and a 15-10 overall record during the 2019-2020 season.
Head Coach Jake Landon said graduated player Jordan Scott will be missed on the team.
“She was great at setting the tone with her effort,” Landon said.
However, with a returning staff and many returning players, the Bulldogs are looking to bring back much of last year’s drive. And with some newer players, Landon and the team hope they will bring a strong new showing to the court.
“We have a junior center Maggie Ball joining us and we believe she will make her presence felt,” Landon said.
Landon said the Bulldogs will use their athleticism to bring a stronger defense to the court this year.
“Our conference is always interesting,” Landon said. “We have a great out of conference matchup with Soda Springs.
Landon and the team are watching for the strengths of opponents such as several players from Firth and Kiley and West Jefferson’s Lacie Dalling.
Landon said West Jefferson’s team will be one to watch this season.
“West Jefferson I don’t really think it is a surprise,” Landon said. “But West Jefferson had a good young group that played well last season.”
West Jefferson went 5-3 in conference play and 13-11 overall last season.
As the Panthers look to bring a stronger showing on the court overall this upcoming season, Head Coach Jalena Dixon said they will look to fill the spots of several graduated seniors such as Saige Moss.
“She was a two year starter that played good minutes for the team,” Dixon said. “She was a contributor both offensively and defensively.”
Cambree Hall, Kimbur Mecham and Lindsey Dalling will fill major positions on the court, Dixon said.
Dixon said the team also added Kyle Johnson to the coaching staff as an assistant varsity coach.
“He is a great builder and knows how to boost kids' confidence,” Dixon said.
Although Dixon hopes the Panthers will bring a more consistent form of play to better finish games, the team, Dixon said, is steadily improving.
“They were very coachable and able to improve daily,” Dixon said. “They are hard workers and have the potential to cause disruption defensively with their speed.”
The Panthers are looking forward to their matchups against Ririe most this season.
“They are a well coached team that always plays hard and intense,” Dixon said.
The conference opponent Dixon thinks the 2A Nuclear Conference could be most surprised by this season is North Fremont.
“They are always scrappy and play hard the whole game,” Dixon said.
North Fremon posted a 3-5 conference record and a 9-15 overall record during the 2019-2020 season.
Head Coach Ben Lenz and the Huskies will look to take on strong opponents in the 2A Nuclear conference this season.
As a new season gets underway, Lenz and the Huskies are hunting to bring back a season similar to 2013, when North Fremont won its most recent state title.