Written by: Sven Alskog
1AD2 North Side Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
4. Lighthouse Christian
5. Camas County
9. Community School
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Slade Dill, Senior, Dietrich
Kade Shaw, Senior, Dietrich
Houston Hennefer, Senior, Carey
Kaden Koudelka, Senior, Carey
Guillermo Zavala, Junior, Murtaugh
Paxton Simson, Junior, Hansen
Trey Smith, Sophomore Camas County
Justin Wood, Senior, Richfield
Collin Holloway, Freshman, Lighthouse Christian
Kolby Taylor, Junior, Castleford
For years Dietrich and Carey have held command of the 1AD2 North Side Conference, and with quality talent coming back for each side, that looks to be the case again this season.
The Blue Devils made a trip to the state title a game a year ago, falling 68-62 in a hard-fought battle with Genesis Prep.
Gone from that team is star guard Garrett Astle, forward Porter Robertson and sharpshooting guards Kaden Tew and Jake Smith.
With the inside-out combo of Slade Dill and Kade Shaw in place, don’t expect much of a drop-off for Dietrich, especially considering the improvement shown from other players on the roster in the offseason including Lon Page, Shayne Van Tassell and Raygn Robertson.
“We have a very solid team developing a good skill set [and] good team speed led by two talented and experienced players,” said 16th year Dietrich head coach Wayne Dill.
The team will play mostly man defense with an occasional zone look, with a heavy emphasis on pressing when needed in closer contests.
“Offensively we run the floor, shoot lots of jump shots and try to push the tempo all the time. We rebound pretty well, play defense and rely on good ball handling skills to overcome lack of size or any lack of quickness. We want to get to the goal,” added Dill.
Carey will again be right there with Dietrich ready to make some noise led by seniors Houston Hennefer and Kaden Koudelka, both strong shooters that can also get to the rack.
The Panthers have an experienced coaching staff and a strong system in place that makes them a tough matchup against anybody. The key will be how well the post play for the Panthers can match up against Dill and other interior presences like him around the conference and state.
Murtaugh is a team that won 15 games last season and could continue to sneak up on teams with a group led by junior Guillermo Zavala.
“Their program is on the rise. They have lots of numbers and some quality players,” said Dill.
“They have been improving each year and have some talent and youth,” added Camas County head coach Jamon Frostenson.
Lighthouse Christian is a potential sleeper as well, led by a balanced scoring attack featuring freshman Collin Holloway.
Jordan Bradshaw, Peyton Lookingbill and Logan Stephens should all be key contributors as well for the Lions.
For Camas County, the question is how to replace leading scorer Austin Burns.
Remington Kramer and Trey Smith are both back, and Smith is a go-to scoring option that should fill much of the void in which Burns vacated.
“We are going to increase the pace and tempo on both ends of the court. We need to improve at our pressure defense,” said Frostenson.
He thinks the conference will be much more balanced than in previous years.
“I think this year it will be much more open as far as talent in our conference, and I think the x-factor will be the team that plays the best together and matures the most during the season.”
Castleford will rely on Kolby Taylor to provide a scoring threat, with Richfield’s go-to guy looking to be Justin Wood.
Nine seniors lead the way for the Hansen Huskies.
“They are hungry [and] have been wanting in the gym to play since football has been over,” said Hansen head coach Nick Gonzales.
In his first season as the head coach, Gonzales has Paxton Simpson, Chase Ellison and Tuff Huizar in place, among many other experienced players on the floor.
“[We] need to play as a team and have confidence. Our two posts need to have the confidence that they can dominate,” added Gonzales.
Community School went 5-7 last year and will again play a conference schedule only this season.