Shelley High School
Conference: 3A Mountain Rivers Conference
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Head Coach: Jim Kolsen
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Record Last Year: 11-15
State Titles: 1970, 2007, 2009
Adam Driscoll, Guard, Senior
Jack Thompson, Forward, Junior
Brennon Wattenbarger, Guard, Senior
Brady Hollist, Forward, Senior
Will Durbin, Guard, Senior
Returning Players with Honors:
Adam Driscoll, All Conference
Brennon Wattenbarger, 2nd Team All Conference
Brady Hollist, Honorable Mention
Jack Thompson, Honorable Mention
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
The second year of the Jim Kolsen era in Shelley begins in earnest for the Russet faithful.
In the first year, after being thrust into the head coaching role just a couple of months prior to the season, the Russets navigated their way through the tough Mountain Rivers Conference while staving off elimination in the district tournament to earn a spot at state, where they went 1-2. While it wasn’t the finished they had dreamed of, it was a good start to the new era of Shelley hoops.
And now, with a year under their belts, the returning Russets are looking to more thoroughly understand and embrace Kolsen’s strategies. Many players who were a part of it last year are back.
Returning to the squad are senior guards Adam Driscoll, Brennon Wattenbarger, and Will Durbin, along with senior forward Brady Hollist and junior forward Jack Thompson. Driscoll was an All-Conference First Team nominee a year ago, with Wattenbarger appearing on the Second Team with Hollist and Thompson as honorable mentions.
Kolsen likes the mix of talent that returns to the team in 2016.
“We have good size and athleticism,” he said. “We have multiple ways in which we can score.”
That length and athleticism will benefit the Russets on both ends of the floor. The coach added that getting more guys involved in the offense and spreading the ball around will be a focus for them this year.
“Knowing who has the hot hand is an X-Factor for us,” he said. “Knowing that and that it could be someone different each and every night.”
That improvement will be key in the Mountain Rivers Conference. Last year’s conference play was some of the wackiest on record, with all four conference team finishing the regular season with a four-way tie. The Russets drew the fourth seed, lost in the first round, then battled all the way through the backside of the district tournament bracket to win the district title. Kolsen says the same scenario could potentially happen again this year.
“The conference is up for grabs,” he said. “South Fremont has size and structure, Sugar-Salem has athleticism and grit, and Teton has good athletes and a new scheme that none of us know about yet.”
The coach also pointed to non-conference games with rivals Firth and Snake River as a few to watch out for this season. Those games will help prepare the Russets for what they hope is a deep run into the postseason.