South Fremont High School
Conference: 3A Mountain Rivers Conference
Share preview with friends!
Head Coach: Ryon Pope
Years as Head Coach: 5th Season
Record Last Year: 17-11
Blake Bartschi, Post, 12
Jarrett Stoddard, Guard, 12
Ty Larson, Guard, 12
Hansen Curtis, Post, 12
Drew Stoddard, Post, 12
Kyler Yancey, Guard, 10
Returning Players with Honors:
Blake Bartschi, 1st team All Conference, 2nd team All-state
Key Players lost from last year:
Alec Pope, PG
Cody Tucker, G
Incoming impact players:
Conner Johnson, P, senior
Reece Yancey, G, junior
Bryson Stoddard, G, senior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
After back-to-back state tournament appearance the last two seasons, what will South Fremont bring to the table for the 2016-17 campaign? Well, for starters, it’ll be the same mentality that has helped improve the Cougars program.
Fifth-year head coach Ryon Pope believes that if his team puts in the work, they will have a good shot of achieving that goal.
“I think we are just working to be the best that we can be,” he said. “But, we want to be very focused on what is directly in front of us. We only want to worry about what is right in front of us.”
That mentality changed the game for the Cougars two years ago and led them from being a middling team to a state title squad. In 2014-15 with South Fremont’s record hovering around .500, the Cougars fully began to implement their ‘Next Play’ mentality – not worrying about previous plays or games and truly focusing on what was in front of them. That, in part, led to the turnaround that saw South Fremont make a wild run to the state title and nearly do it once again last season.
However, the Cougars will be without the services of two key players during both runs to state.
“We lose point guard Alec Pope and guard Cody Tucker to graduation,” Pope noted. “Alec was a great ballhandler and our leading scorer, while Cody was a great scorer and just a tough kid.”
South Fremont does bring back a piece of the championship puzzle back once again. Senior post Blake Bartschi, who has started since he was a sophomore, will lead the attack in the paint for the Cougars. Bartschi, who was an All-Conference First Team and All-State Second Team selection last year, will be joined by senior posts Hansen Curtis and Drew Stoddard. Senior guards Ty Larson and Jarrett Stoddard are back as well along with junior guard Kyler Yancey. Pope also anticipates seniors Bryson Stoddard and Conner Johnson to have an impact for the Cougars this year.
Offensively, the Cougars are looking for a continuation of the success they’ve found the last couple of seasons with playing a bit slower pace.
“We are a team that is focused on execution and sharing the ball with each other,” Pope said. “I think we have a very unselfish team that wants to work together to find success offensively.”
The coach added that he hopes they can minimize turnovers much like they did last year.
Defensively, it’s all about filling your assignment.
“We have a lot of guys that want to just do their job. We are working on becoming strong as a defensive unit with great help and hustle,” said Pope, while adding that significant improvement in the defensive rebounding category would be imperative this year.
As the Cougars play in the tough Mountain Rivers Conference, Pope said he isn’t quite sure what to expect from their league opponents.
“I think that Shelley is the front-runner, but you never know. Every year is pretty tough to predict,” he said. “Last year, we had a four-way tie for first place, so you just can’t say how things will play out.”
Pope and his crew are only focused on the things that they can control – themselves.
“If we can peak at the right time in order to get to the state tournament, that will be the X-Factor to our success,” he said.
They’ve done it the last two seasons. They know the formula. For South Fremont fans, the question becomes: can they pull it off again?