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  Idaho Boys Basketball Early Season Eye-Openers

There is talent all over the place this year in Idaho high school basketball, which is on full display in our list of early surprises.

By: Sven Alskog
Published: 12/17/2018 3:46:12 PM
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

After not receiving major accolades in the preseason, some of Idaho’s under the radar teams deserve to be recognized. We take a look at who has opened eyes so far in the early season. 

Last week we took a look at the girls teams in each classification that have jumped out to starts that have exceeded the expectations of many, with the focus this week on the boys teams that have done the same. 

5A: Rigby (7-1 as of Dec. 18) 
An easy way to get people within the 5A ranks to open their eyes is to knock off the number one ranked team in the state, which also happens to be the two-time defending state champions, something that Rigby did last weekend by a score of 55-50 over Rocky Mountain in the Preston Indian Classic. Briggs Ranstrom did not play for the Grizzlies in that matchup, however the win is still a big accomplishment for a Trojans team that went 6-16 last year. The lone blemish on the schedule so far for Rigby was a 60-53 loss to three-time defending 4A state champion Preston the day after the Rocky Mountain game. Britton Berrett had 23 points in that one, with the team knocking down 11 triples. In his ninth season as head coach, Justin Jones appears to have a team ready to make a run at things come March, with returners like Berrett, Wyatt Taylor, Keegan Thompson, Tagg Olaveson, Brycen Uffens and Tanoa Togiai all making big impacts in the new season. 

4A: Columbia (6-1 as of Dec. 18)
After losing their opener to Mountain Home, the Wildcats have responded with a six-game winning streak, including two defeats of defending 3A state champion Fruitland, a win over preseason 4A SIC favorite Bishop Kelly and a victory in the championship game of the Today’s Dentistry Holiday Classic over Nampa. According to John Wustrow of the Idaho Press, that win was the first time in the history of the Columbia boys basketball program that the team had won a tournament title of any kind. After setting a school record with 37 points in the semifinals against Fruitland, Jake Poulton was helped out in a big way by his teammates in the championship game, with Jaylen Alexander pitching in 16 points and 8 rebounds and Tripp Pugmire pouring in 13 points and hauling down 9 rebounds. Similar to the success that the football team saw during the fall, the boys’ basketball version of the Wildcats seems to also be right at home in the 4A SIC. 

3A: Snake River (6-0 as of Dec. 18)
Despite losing all five starters from a team that took third place at state last year, including two-time 3A State Player of the Year Clancy Thomas, the Panthers have wins over Kimberly, Sugar-Salem and Ririe in what has been an impressive early season performance. In a 64-60 win over Ririe last week, Porter Albertson put up 21 points on the night. In his 26th season on the sideline, Bob Coombs continues to prove that his system works year in and year out. The experienced Coombs has brought home five state titles on the sideline for the Panthers and has now won 415 career games. Snake River has made state 17 times in the last 25 seasons, including 16 of the last 19 years. Expect the Panthers to be making noise again this year come March. 

2A: Marsing (6-1 as of Dec. 18)
Led by the inside-out combination of senior guard Enrique Quebrado and sophomore post Jacob Ankeny, the Huskies have created matchup problems for opponents in the early season, something which they hope to continue into conference play. So far Marsing has split its games with Liberty Charter, swept Payette and Homedale and also defeated North Star Charter in the Small School Basketball Showcase at Mountain View High School. Dwight Sevy, Cash Sevy, Roger Valadez and Merrick Hall will all make major impacts as well for Marsing this year as the team makes a run at the 2A Western Idaho Conference crown. 

1AD1: Wallace (7-0 as of Dec. 18)
Perhaps more impressive than reeling off seven consecutive wins to begin the season is who Wallace has done it against. The Miners swept Silver Valley foe Kellogg, knocked off a perennial 2A state tournament team in St. Maries, won against 1AD2 state champion Genesis Prep and for good measure also came away victorious against 3A foes Bonners Ferry and Priest River. You could say the Miners are pretty good. Wallace has been bit by the injury bug though in the early season, with starting guard Hunter Stutzke breaking his wrist in the game against Kellogg and Carter Bailey suffering a potentially season-ending injury the game before that against St. Maries. In the Miners win this last Saturday against Priest River, head coach Corey Miller was forced to use a six-man rotation, with the squad stepping up in a big way in a 75-62 victory. Zach Welch had 31 points and Erik Brackebusch filled up the scoring column as well with 25 of his own. 

1AD2: Camas County (5-1 as of Dec. 18)
Behind Leadore and Grace Lutheran, the 29 student enrollment at Camas County represents the third smallest number of students at a school participating in boys’ basketball this year in the state of Idaho. Despite not having much in the way of depth, with just five full-time members of the varsity squad and some JV pieces filling out the bench during games, the Mushers have wins over Hagerman, Tri-Valley, Twin Falls Christian, Jackpot (NV) and Richfield. Remington Kramer and Zach Reedy are anchors on the interior, with Jaydon Rossman, Trey Smith and Alex Robles strong on the outside to give head coach Jamon Frostenson a talented inside-out presence. Breken Clark and Dawson Kramer provide depth for the starting five off the bench. In a conference where Lighthouse Christian is the favorite, there will be a major battle for the other 1.5 spots out of the district to state between teams like Carey, Dietrich, Camas County and Murtaugh. 

 
 


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