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Orofino High School

School Info
Conference: 2A Central Idaho League
Classification: 2A

Head Coach: Jeff Wright

Team Preview:

Written by: Will Hoenike

There’s an old idiom, saying “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

It’s not an exact fit for the Orofino boys basketball team, but one can draw some parallels as basketball season gets underway.

The Maniac football team reached the 2A state semifinal game before being knocked out, giving the school’s multi-sport athletes precious little time to transition from the gridiron to the hardwood. The football season ended three days after basketball practice began, leaving the team with less practice time together than usual before its season-opening game at home against 1A Salmon River on December 4. No rest for the troops who are just coming out of a long football season.

But if success begets success, then Orofino is on its way. Prior to the football team reaching the state semifinals this fall, the school’s baseball team rolled to the 2A state championship last spring, winning three games, each by ten runs. Head coach Jeff Wright hopes to continue building off the winning mojo in the small, central-Idaho town.

“Basketball remains the same,” Wright said. “Defend, rebound, take care of the ball and make a few shots. Those who do, win.”

Wright returns three starters from last season’s team that went 12-10. Brendon Judd, Hayden Wilson and Drake Kuykendall are back, joined by fellow letter-winners Kolby Brink, Gabe Turner and Bayley Noah. Noah, a 6’3” sophomore, will be key for Orofino as the team looks to have a solid inside presence. Brink returns to the courts healthy after spending last season recovering from a leg injury.

Defensively, Wright says the team needs to find its identity. How will the team attack opponents on the defensive end? The returning trio of starters will be asked to help create that identity, along with Noah, as the team opens the season with four of its first six games away from the friendly confines of Orofnio.

The trade-off comes at mid-season when the varsity team hosts six of seven at home, including a pivotal Central Idaho Conference matchup against defending district champion Grangeville on January 15 and fellow CIL rival St. Maries on February 13.

The district tournament begins on February 21 with a berth at the 2A state tournament on the line. Dating back to 1990, Orofino High has only advanced out of districts one time – 2008, when the team won the consolation title after falling in the first round. It’s a district tournament that has largely been dominated by Grangeville and Kamiah (now 1A), dating back to the early 2000s.

With recent successes in football and baseball as our guide, perhaps Orofino is ready to crash the party.

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