1ADII Long Pin Conference Preview
Written by Brandon Baney
Players to Watch
Madison Bartlett, Cascade
Kyler Nitzel, Cascade
Sydney Nichols, Council
Gracie Castillo, Garden Valley
Katy Wentz, Garden Valley
Alethea Chapman, Salmon River
Jordyn Pottenger, Salmon River
Sofie Branstetter, Salmon River
Larissa Hansen, Tri-Valley
Emma Hollon, Tri-Valley
Josey Jones, Tri-Valley
The 2019-20 season saw Tri-Valley and Salmon River emerge as the lead dogs in the Long Pin Conference race. The Titans went 21-3 a year ago, while Salmon River finished 17-6. Fittingly, the two teams met in the third-place game at the 1ADII state tournament, where Tri-Valley escaped with a 45-43 win.
Including the matchup at state, Tri-Valley got the better of Salmon River four times last year, which means the Titans get the nod as the Long Pin favorite in 2021. Head coach Jeff Springer welcomes back the Conference MVP in senior point guard Emma Hollon, as well as senior shooting guard Josey Jones, a first-team all-conference performer. That duo will be leaned on heavily to lead a talented, but relatively untested nucleus this season. Also returning for the Titans is senior Larissa Hansen, an all-conference performer as a freshman and sophomore. Hansen missed her junior season with an injury.
Salmon River took home a fourth-place finish at state last year, despite having only six varsity players. Four of those six players return, including junior guard Alethea Chapman, the reigning defensive player of the year in the Long Pin Conference. Joining Chapman in the backcourt is senior Sofie Branstetter, while senior Jordyn Pottenger and junior Avery Jones return to the post. Notably absent is senior all-state point guard Lotus Harper, who underwent offseason knee surgery and won’t be able to play this year.
Salmon River Head Coach Paula Tucker not only has to find a point guard this season, but four varsity newcomers will also be closely evaluated in practice.
“With only six players last year, we were very well-conditioned. That will be a key again for us this year,” Tucker said. She adds, “Foul trouble will also have a big impact. We will need to play aggressively on defense without a lot of fouling.”
Garden Valley is viewed by many as a dark horse team this year. The Wolverines went 9-7 a season ago and returned do-everything sophomore Gracie Castillo. She’ll team up with junior Katy Wentz to give Garden Valley a strong 1-2 punch.
The Council Lumberjacks are also hoping to take a step forward in 2021. Council head coach Dan Shumway notes that his team lost a lot of talent to graduation.
“Kyle Shumway was our leader in rebounds, blocks and steals, and was second in scoring. Amber Glenn was our point guard and our assists leader. Sophie Daniels was our glue person and was able to play multiple positions,” Shumway said.
Attempting to replicate those roles in 2021 will be senior post Adrianna Conaway, sophomore point guard Rhianna Iverson, and junior guard Sydney Nichols, respectively.
Cascade finished just 4-15 last season, but return three All-Conference performers this year. Senior guard Madison Bartlett, junior guard Dakota Kidder-Sears, and sophomore post Kyler Nitzel have Ramblers fans excited about Cascade’s potential in 2021.
After a year away from action, Horseshoe Bend and Meadows Valley will return to the Long Pin Conference in 2021. Kym Hess will coach the Mustangs, while Kaytlyn Gilliam will lead Meadows Valley.