Payette High School
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
Head Coach: Jenna Ravenscroft
Years as Head Coach: 6th season
Previous Experience: Some middle school coaching experience in Boise
Record Last Year: 3-18
Photo By: Patty Theurer - #1 Robyn King
Written by: Chris Langrill
Coach Jenna Ravenscraft is the first to admit the Payette girls basketball team didn't have one of its better campaigns last season.
The Pirates finished with a 3-18 record.
But fast forward to this season, and you'll find a head coach who is trying to instill a new attitude in her players as she begins her sixth year of leading the Pirates.
“Every day is a new day,” she said.
And every team is different.
Especially this year's squad at Payette. Last year's team featured eight seniors. This year, the team will have to rely on plenty of youth.
“There are just a lot of new kids,” Ravenscraft said. “Some of them have never played at the varsity level and some of them have never played together before.”
Because of that, Ravenscraft is trying to focus more on development than the team's position in the standings in the early stages of this season.
“That's one of the things we talked about from Day One, getting better every day, having improvements every week,” she said, “and not getting caught up so much in the wins and losses.”
And, on a positive note, she has seen progress.
“There's already been a lot of improvement, actually,” Ravenscraft said.
Two players will be instrumental for the Pirates as the team tries to continue to make strides: junior post Sophie McGrath and senior guard Robyn King.
Those two are virtually the only players with any varsity experience.
“(McGrath) is not very big, she's a smaller post, but she'll get in there and mix it up,” Ravenscraft said. “She's not gun shy.”
And while McGrath provides some grit, King brings some speed.
“She's quick,” Ravenscraft said. “She's one of our quickest players, and when she's on, she shoots lights out.”
The goal, Ravenscraft said, is for King to have a more consistent season as a senior.
Still, Payette will have some options at guard. Sophomores Krystal Benitez and Kadee Winn each will bring some savvy and talent to the position.
“They are definitely two of my better ball-handlers,” Ravenscraft said. “And that makes a huge difference. They're already in a leadership role, kind of, even as sophomores.”
Ravenscraft said her goal as a coach this season is to play to her players' strengths (speed), while recognizing a potential weakness (lack of size). Ultimately, that will translate to more pressing on defense.
“We've changed our defensive structure because we're smaller and we're so quick,” she said. “We're not as good defensively right now as we need to be, but we're learning new systems.
“(Pressing) is something we haven't predominantly done in the past, because we haven't had the speed that we do this season.”