Jerome High School
Conference: Great Basin (West) Conference
Head Coach: Scott Burton
Years as Head Coach: 3rd season
Previous Experience: Boys Varsity Assistant, Girls Varsity Assistant, Boys Freshmen, Boys JV—all at Jerome 1993--present
Record Last Year: 18-7
Photo By: Steve Conner - #14 Kaela McClure
Written by: Sven Alskog
The Jerome Tigers surprised seemingly everyone aside from themselves last season, coming one game away from making a trip to the state tournament.
After losing team leaders prior to that campaign including sharpshooter Kaitlyn Kelley and team leader Kolbie Stauffer, the story will be much the same this time around, having lost both Jessica Praegitzer and Kayla Green to graduation.
While for most teams losing so much talent would be a major cause for concern, Head Coach Scott Burton’s groups have already proven they can find ways to win under many different situations.
Sophomore point guard Kaela McClure and senior post Stormy Reynolds lead the returners for Burton, with both being asked to become even bigger scoring threats, while also being looked at to handle leadership roles.
Youth on the perimeter will be the difference between another strong season in Jerome or an early exit in the district tournament.
That youth movement will be led by newcomers Abbie Craig, Kathryn Craig and Emily Palmer.
“We will be very young this year,” said Burton. “We might take our lumps but we’ll do it with a lot of youth on the guard line.”
The hope is that chemistry will be built early on with this group, something that will help to bring forth an offensive identity for a team that struggled to get the ball in the basket down the stretch last season, only scoring 45 points once in its final seven games.
After using a run and gun approach last year, the new influx of talent will potentially bring forth change in that regard.
“We are a little unsure of the style we will play this year,” said Burton. “We have a lot of growing to do as we lost 90% of our offensive scoring due to graduation.”
With the youth on the wings, ball control will be a priority. Avoiding turnovers which lead to easy baskets on the other end will be a focus early on in an attempt to build confidence.
Having his point guard McClure returning should help to provide Burton with some sense of continuity. The talented McClure helped lead the Tigers to an 18-7 mark last season while patrolling the team as a freshman. She looks to be even better this season after a full offseason to continue to grow as a player, the thought of which could give headaches to coaches within the 4A Great Basin West Conference.