Payette High School
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
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Payette High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Rod Belknap
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: 15 Years at HS Level
Record Last Year: 11-13
State Titles: None
Chris Walker, 12, G
Austin Stricker, 12, G
Bryant Gerdes, 12, G
Colton Lewis, 12, C
Mason Rynearson, 12, P
Returning Players with Honors:
Colton Lewis, First Team All-Conference
Bryant Gerdes, Second Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Tully Martin, P, Honorable Mention All-Conference
Cameron Burke, G
Photo By: Patty Theurer - #32 Colton Lewis
Written by: Sven Alskog
3A Snake River Valley Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cole Eiguren, Junior, Fruitland
Brayden Jensen, Junior, Parma
Colton Lewis, Senior, Payette
Bryant Gerdes, Senior, Payette
Jake O’Neil, Junior, Fruitland
Jared Nielsen, Junior, Parma
Hunter Stampfli, Junior, Fruitland
Drake Stampfli, Junior, Fruitland
Scott Matlock, Senior, Homedale
Braden Bumgarner, Junior, Weiser
If recent years are any indication, the SRV will be one of the more exciting conferences regardless of classification in Idaho to follow.
Several teams return key pieces of their core from last season, while defending district tournament champion Weiser lost two All-State performers in Alberto Sanchez and Bridger Bumgarner, which may make their quest for another trip a tough task this time around.
Parma was the other representative out of the conference in the state tournament last season. The Panthers return four starters, including Brayden Jensen and Jared Nielsen.
For a youthful team from a year ago, the coaching staff is looking forward to seeing it come full circle this season.
“We were very young last year, so we are looking for all of them to have an impact. We have good players that now have experience,” said Parma head coach Scot Garrick.
Other coaches are expecting a tough challenge when the Panthers are lined up on the other side of the court.
“Although they are a state team from last year, I think they will be much improved and possibly the best team in the conference,” said Homedale head coach Chad Mann.
Both Fruitland and Payette should be strong contenders as well, with each returning a good amount of talent to challenge for a state berth.
The Grizzlies have a strong junior class of Cole Eiguren, Hunter Stampfli, Drake Stampfli and Jake O’Neil alongside of senior guard Jacob Richins that will make the team a threat in the 3A ranks.
“We are hopeful that the chemistry will be our strength. We have a lot of players that have played a lot of basketball together for a long time. We will be very young, but we see that as a strength,” said 19th year Fruitland head coach Mike Fitch.
Considering the style that the Grizzlies play, which places a heavy emphasis on team basketball, chemistry being a strength is as good of a thing as any to be the strong point for the group.
“We run a motion style offense that is predicated on making accurate reads and everyone being on the same page,” added Fitch.
The evolution of the team as the season goes on should be fun to watch.
“We will play a lot of man and zone. That will evolve as the season progresses. We will pass and share the ball very well. We will have to make sure we are physical and defend and rebound well enough to compete at the varsity level,” said Fitch.
If you’re looking for the most experienced team in the conference however, look no further than Payette.
The Pirates boast All-Conference returners Colton Lewis and Bryant Gerdes, along with guard Chris Walker, all seniors.
Lewis is a strong inside option that will be a mismatch against most all teams Payette plays.
“I will more than likely have an all-senior varsity team,” said Payette head coach Rod Belknap. “All of these kids have been in the program. The learning curve should be short on getting everyone up to speed. We should be able to hit the ground running.”
With lots of positives, it all comes down to limiting turnovers to maximize that talent and experience.
“Our motto this year is going to be play fast. Keep constant pressure on our opponents offensively and defensively. Our roster is deep and we are long and athletic. I think the key to our season is taking care of the basketball and playing intense man-to-man team defense,” added Belknap.
While Payette may have the most experience, any of the four other teams in the SRV can be classified in at least some way as a sleeper to make some noise.
“Homedale will be much improved and ready to make a run with a year of experience under their belts on a team that lost very few seniors,” said Weiser head coach Brad Adolfson.
Those Trojans have all five starters back, highlighted by senior center Scott Matlock. Along with Matlock, the team has a couple of quality juniors in Mason Kincheloe and Carson Brown to pair with sophomore Nelson Lomeli to make this a dangerous squad.
“We had virtually no returners last year. This year we return almost our entire starting lineup. We had a successful summer program and the improvement is very noticeable. This year I believe that we have the senior leadership [with] Scott Matlock that will push us to work hard every day. These kids have a great drive and have put in the time to improve over the off-season,” said Mann.
To take the next step and improve upon the 2-16 mark of a year ago, the Trojans have to finish games.
“We need to play all 32 minutes to be successful. We blew quite a few leads last year and I think our youth had a lot to do with that. I expect us to be an aggressive defense that rebounds well and I expect our offense to be all about space and pace, 3-point shots and layups,” added Mann.
The coach also pointed out that rebounding the basketball will be much improved over a year ago.
Weiser will be a lot younger this season, however Second Team All-Conference guard Braden Bumgarner and Honorable Mention All-Conference senior point guard Isaac Tarelo should help keep the team in games early as the youth around them gains experience.
“We will be young and inexperienced, so being able to build chemistry and improve over the course of the season will be the big thing on our team this year,” said Adolfson.
With new faces like Tim Reed, Andre Jensen and Hayden Palmer among others being looked upon to step into big shoes, figuring out the best style for the new talent on each end of the floor is paramount.
“We are still finding ourselves offensively. We have been up-tempo the last few years, but may be a little more deliberate this season. Defensively we are going to be a multiple defense team. Rebounding and points in the paint will key points of emphasis for us as a team this season,” added Adolfson.
Other coaches know not to sleep on the Wolverines.
“They were our conference champions last year and lost a lot of seniors, including the player of the year Alberto Sanchez. I think most people are expecting them to have a down year. Coach Adolfson does a great job year in and year out. They will surprise some teams this year,” said Mann.
It appears like all teams can have a shot to beat everyone else on any given night this season in the SRV.
“Our league is wide-open, so it's hard to say one [game] is more important than another,” added Fitch.
Throughout the state that is a theme in the 3A ranks this year, so look for a fantastic state tournament at Meridian come March.