Gooding High School
Conference: 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference
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Gooding High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Chris Comstock
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 6 Years Varsity Girls
3 Years JV Boys
Record Last Year: 14-12
State Titles: 1971, 1972, 1986
Shawn Pamplona, 12, F
Ruger Jennings, 12, F
Cayden Loveland, 11, G
Returning Players with Honors:
Shawn Pamplona, Second Team All-Conference
Cayden Loveland, Second Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Bryson Comstock, PG
Conference Player of the Year
First Team All-State
His ball handling, scoring ability and basketball IQ will be missed," -Coach Comstock
Tyler Visser, G
"Shooting ability, ability to attack the rim and leadership will be missed," -Coach Comstock
Jack Darcy, F
"His toughness and rebounding ability will be tough to replace," -Coach Comstock
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #5 Cayden Loveland
Written by: Sven Alskog
3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Trey Garey, Senior, Kimberly
Nick Meyerhoeffer, Senior, Filer
Josh Hughes, Senior, Filer
Taylor Holcomb, Senior, Kimberly
Shawn Pamplona, Senior, Gooding
Cayden Loveland, Junior, Gooding
Adam Lauda, Junior, Buhl
Garrett Bowman, Junior, Buhl
Things are about as wide-open as they can possibly be in the 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference entering the new season, which should come as no surprise after a wild district tournament last year that saw upstart Gooding upend perennial power Buhl.
This year each team again looks to have a shot, although the Kimberly Bulldogs appear to be the front-runner behind the strengths of senior guard Trey Garey, a player who missed much of last season due to injury.
Six fellow seniors around Garey bring plenty of optimism to the gym this season. Whether it is Taylor Holcomb on the interior or Connor Golay, Lance Thompson or Gage Burnham outside, the roster has plenty of options for the coaching staff to utilize.
“This group of seniors is a very hard working group. They have put in a lot of time in the off-season, and because of that, we will be very versatile. We can play a lineup where any one of the five players can bring the ball up in transition. Taylor Holcomb, Connor Golay and Trey Garey will continue to be big parts of everything we do, but need to make-up for the scoring and rebounding voids left by our senior class of last year. Gage Burnham, Lance Thompson, Cade Doggett and Noah Mooney will see an expanded role and be counted on to make major contributions as well,” said Kimberly head coach Daren Garey.
It’s a quick group, which will help on each end of the floor.
“We will be very quick and these kids can play fast, but in order to play fast we have to rebound. Defensively we should be able to put a lot of pressure on the offense. If we rebound we will have a chance to be very good,” added Garey.
As was the case last season, health will play a big factor for the Bulldogs.
“We need to get healthy and stay healthy. Taylor Holcomb will be out until after Christmas break. He is a huge force in the middle of our defense and is our leading rebounder. We will need a group effort to make up for his loss early on,” said Garey.
Buhl has been a staple towards the top of the conference for quite some now, with seven consecutive trips to the district title game and four state tournament appearances during that time.
Over the last couple of years the Indians have graduated lots of quality talent, including this past season losing Jim Elkin down-low, along with Greg Loveless and Zyon Cleverley.
Fortunately for Buhl, a talented junior class should help keep the team in the mix, led by Adam Lauda and Garrett Bowman. Senior Garrett Montgomery is a guard who returns and will add leadership to the team.
“We’ve graduated a lot of scoring, and our offense will need to become a more balanced attack, led by one senior and several juniors [Montgomery, Bowman, Lauda, Payton Rodig, Carter Kelsey, Jaxon Tews and A.J. Armitage]. We want to establish multiple offensive weapons, which gives us diversity in our offense. We preach being aggressive in pace and ball movement. We need to emphasize sharing the ball. If we get everyone involved, we become more powerful. We need to build our depth to be able to play fast and aggressive,” said eighth year Buhl head coach Dan Winn.
For an up-tempo team that has averaged over 58 points per game the last five years, the offense should continue to be a strength even with the changes.
The most critical component to maintaining success for the Indians will come on the other end of the ball.
“If we want to get back to the state tournament, the most important factor is improving our defense. We have some good athletes, so we ask them to give themselves to the team on defense. It takes a group effort to get what we want. Rebounding is very important to us, as it ignites our offense. We need to defend the ball a lot better, and have someone protecting the rim. We need rebounding from multiple sources. Rebounding is our measurement of effort, both as an individual, and as a team,” added Winn.
With a less experienced roster than in recent seasons, getting into the flow of things early will be important, something their coach thinks they will be able to do in large part due to the camaraderie of the group.
“We have a very talented junior class, anchored by our one and only senior. The chemistry in practice so far is really high, and I’m excited to see how they play.”
Filer is a team that could sneak up on some people with a trio of strong seniors back. On the inside, Josh Hughes and Ashton Karel is the combination, while on the outside the Wildcats are led by Nick Meyerhoeffer.
“We feel like we are athletic and move the ball well,” said Filer head coach Rob Anderson.
Other coaches are taking note of that athleticism.
“Filer has a lot of very good guards and some big kids that understand their role. They will be very good this year,” said Garey.
Gooding lost the heart and soul of a team that made a memorable run to the state tournament last year.
While the Senators do return Second Team All-Conference selections Shawn Pamplona and Cayden Loveland, they may fly under the radar again.
“Nobody expected us to be good last year and I believe they will expect that again,” said second year head coach Chris Comstock.
One thing that always stands out about Gooding is the competitiveness of the team, whether that be on the hardwood in the winter or the gridiron in the fall.
“Our athleticism and willingness to compete will allow us to be competitive. We lost some really good players from last year’s team, but have five players back that won a district championship and played three games at the state tournament. It will take some time to develop team chemistry and figure out how we are going to score the basketball. Our defense and rebounding will be our strength early in the season as we work on creating scoring opportunities for all players,” added Comstock.
When the dust settles, the conference could look very different by the end of the season than it does early, with an always eventful slate of action within the conference looking to make things interesting.