Parma High School
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
Head Coach: Michael Calkins
Years as Head Coach: 3rd season
Previous Experience: Four years assistant at Nyssa
Record Last Year: 13-10
State Titles: None
Written by: Vince Trimboli
When Michael Calkins took over the Parma girls three seasons ago, he inherited a downtrodden program that had won just six games in the previous two years.
“My goal was to change the culture of the program,” said Calkins, who previously served as an assistant just across the border in Nyssa, Oregon for four years. “I think we did that after the first year. I think we’ve done that.”
That first year the Panthers finished a very surprising third at state. Last year they had a respectable 13-10 record and missed the state tournament after being upset by Fruitland in the District-3 second place game.
After turning the program around, Calkins and the Panthers have a new challenge. This season they’d like to remain at the top of the 3A Snake River Valley Conference. To do so they’ll have to replace 95-percent of the scoring from last year. (Yes, 95-percent- that was not a misprint.)
Gone is the decorated trio of Makayla Stockett, SRV player of the year and current member of the Treasure Valley Community College Chukars, along with First team All SRV selection Deborah Blanscet and BoTene Pinz honorable mention all-league.
“There’s a lot of opportunity,” said Calkins. “Who wants to step up? Who wants to be the leader? Who wants to do the scoring?”
Calkins has a couple of starters back. Senior Gabby Bishop and junior Madison Beck will each get ample opportunity to answer the coach’s question. (#24) Bishop, a 5-foot-10 do everything player, will be moved around the floor in hopes of creating mismatches to utilize her size and athleticism.
“She’s somebody that can do it,” Calkins said in reference to finding new scorers. “Last year she didn’t have to. But she has the ability. This summer, she was a beast.”
Beck is a combo point guard and shooting guard. She will be joined by senior Jaysee Willmorth, who came off bench last year, but played starter minutes. Willmorth led the SRV in steals, according to Calkins. “She’s a defensive stud. But she is going to have to do some scoring for us.”
Despite the loss in scoring, Calkins expects the Panthers to compete every night despite the fact the SRV is expected to be its strongest in years. Fruitland, Weiser and Homedale are loaded with returning starters and Emmett moves into the league up from the formidable 4A Southern Idaho Conference.
Calkins said this will be his most athletic team. The Panthers will push ball down court and play in your face man-to-man defense.
“We can be successful if these girls are hungry enough and want it enough. We don’t want to be bottom feeder of league again. We want people to walk in to our gym and be nervous to play us.
“It’s all about getting better and improving to the point we’re firing on all cylinders coming into District Tournament time.”