Shelley High School
Conference: 3A Mountain Rivers Conference
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Head Coach: Wally Foster
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 2 years boy’s freshmen coach and varsity assistant at Shelley High School. 3 years JV coach and varsity assistant at Teton High School
Record Last Year: 11-17
State Titles: 90-91, 94-95, 97-98, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2007-08
Jake Monahan JV Coach and varsity assistant
Tonya Leal Freshmen Coach and varsity assistant
Bailey Stoddard, Post, Senior
Rylie Ottley, Guard, Senior
Mary Vance, Post, Senior
Key Players lost from last year:
Kira Marlow, Wing
Kenzie Call, Guard
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
Don’t let records deceive you. The 2015-16 Shelley Russets were good. VERY good.
Shelley played up against a lot of 4A and 5A competition last season. It prepared them for a run in the state tournament, which saw them fall in a thrilling third-place game against conference-foe Teton.
Now, the Russets will prepare for life without a couple of stars while breaking in a new coach.
Wally Foster takes over the reigns of the Shelley program from Trevor Elordi. Foster is no stranger to eastern Idaho basketball – he has worked as an assistant at both Shelley and Teton. And, despite losing departed seniors Kira Marlow and Kenzie Call (both of whom play college basketball now), the cupboard is not empty for the Russets.
Back in the fold this year are senior posts Bailey Stoddard and Mary Vance, along with senior guard Rylie Ottley. Foster says that Stoddard could have a breakout year.
“Bailey is receiving some attention from college recruiters,” he said of his 6’3” senior post. Foster added that junior guard Ashleigh Ball would be counted on heavily this year and will play a factor in their success.
“Ashleigh and Abbey Crandall are guards who can shoot it,” he said. “We are hoping to be a better half-court team, but we also feel like we can get the ball out and run as well.”
Shelley has several athletes that can make an impact on the game. But Foster says there is much improvement needed ahead if they want to find themselves playing for a state championship in February.
“We need to be more consistent, have better shot selection, improve our ball and player movement, and improve our transition game,” he said. “Taking care of the basketball and not beating ourselves will be a big factor in our success this year.”
Defensively, Foster says that fans should expect a mix of defensive strategy, from man-to-man to zone to pressure D.
“We are focusing more on a team defensive concept rather than individual defensive prowess,” he said. “But we do have Bailey and Mary who are good shot blockers and post defenders. Ashleigh and Rylie are some of our best perimeter defenders.”
Foster says his team wants to make it tough on the opposition down low night-in and night-out.
“We really want to protect the paint and make teams beat us from the perimeter,” he said.
It will be a dog fight to the finish for Shelley and their conference-mates. The Mountain Rivers Conference is consistently a strong league from top to bottom and that appears to be the case once again this year. Foster expects the same.
“Teton should be the front runner as they return four starters from their state tournament team that finished third last year… and I expect Sugar-Salem to be right there as well,” he said. “South Fremont has a new coach and they are doing some nice things and I believe they will be much improved as well.”
The coach said that their home contest against Teton is the game that fans need to circle on their calendars.
“The Teton game is our final home game and they are definitely the team to beat in our conference,” Foster said. “A lot could be on the line as well as far as district tournament seeding is concerned.”
Foster is excited at the potential of his team and the season that lay ahead.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be a head coach and guide a program,” he said. “I’m also excited to see how much progress and improvement we can make over the course of the year. The young ladies are really working hard and bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the program. I love working with young athletes to help them improve and work toward their goals.”