Salmon River High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Salmon River High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Levi Tucker
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: JV Boys Coach
Assisted Girls Varsity for 2 Years
Record Last Year: 16-8
State Titles: 2013, 2014
Devon Branstetter, 12, G
Canyon Harper, 11, F
Returning Players with Honors:
Devon Branstetter, Second Team All-Conference
Canyon Harper, Second Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Clayton Shepherd, G, Co-Conference MVP
Tucker Boyd, G, defense and toughness
Steven Hackler, G, hustle plays and 3-point shooting
Incoming impact players:
Randy McClure, 11, F
Payton Baugh, 12, P
Written by: Sven Alskog
1AD2 Long Pin Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Salmon River
5. Garden Valley
6. Meadows Valley
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chip Mitchell, Senior, Tri-Valley
Orion Southwick, Junior, Tri-Valley
Lance Nichols, Senior, Council
Brett Rosengrant, Senior, Council
Devon Branstetter, Senior, Salmon River
Canyon Harpter, Junior, Salmon River
Wyatt Stocks, Junior, Cascade
Michael Onaindia, Sophomore, Cascade
Darell Lindstrom-Peppers, Senior, Garden Valley
Trystan Knox, Senior, Garden Valley
Miguel Mendoza-Martinez, Junior, Meadows Valley
Entering the new season in the Long Pin Conference, a lot of changes are taking place, which should make for a fun year as teams transition from players and coaches that had become stalwarts around the state.
Charlie Shepherd will no long be on the sidelines for Salmon River, as Levi Tucker takes over for the long-time head coach.
Down the road in Council, the Lumberjacks will look to replace double-double machine JT Mahon, not an easy task considering the scoring threat and rebounding presence in which he was.
Meanwhile, Tri-Valley has the opposite story, as the Titans return just about everyone and appear primed to make their mark in the conference.
With nine returners from last year, 30 kids in total out for basketball and experienced JV players sliding up to varsity, things are looking good for the co-op.
“This past off-season’s summer ball was a rewarding experience. It gave us some good insight and valuable team time. Our practice schedule to begin this season has been abbreviated as our football team [played in] the state championship. 21 of our 30 basketball players participate within the football program,” said Tri-Valley head coach Barrett Morris.
Some of those two-sport stars include All-Conference returners Chip Mitchell and Orion Southwick, along with seniors Parker Cornwell and Collin Kindall.
The Titans will also welcome back Colt Uhlenkott for his junior season after missing his sophomore campaign due to injury.
As people who followed along with the Tri-Valley run to the state championship game this season in football would know, the size of this team will be a big strength; literally.
“We expect to be a match-up problem for other teams on our schedule this year. Our starting five will all range from 6-foot to 6-foot-3, with additional height and speed waiting on our bench. Our team style will continue to be man defense and looking to run when it’s available. Our team success will be measured at the end of the season. We’ve been knocked out of our district tournament the last two years. We’ll need to make the next step in our progression for this to be a successful season,” added Morris.
Council was the state tournament representative for the Long Pin last year, but will have to replace the engine of the roster in Mahon.
Fortunately the Lumberjacks have Co-Conference MVP forward Lance Nichols, First Team All-Conference guard Brett Rosengrant and Second Team All-Conference guard Braden Nichols all back.
“Because of injuries last season this group played a lot together. They also played a lot of summer basketball and I think we will play better as a team this season,” said Council head coach JC Tucker.
Without a dominant post presence inside this year, the Lumberjacks may have to be a little more perimeter-driven.
“We try to play solid defense. Because of our size we may need to make more shots from the outside this year,” added Tucker.
Salmon River enters the first year of the Levi Tucker era, as the Savages shoot for a trip to state after a hiatus last season.
The new coach has Second Team All-Conference returners Canyon Harper and Devon Branstetter back to lead the charge, with three starters having graduated from the group from last year.
“I am excited to see how these kids respond to new coaching style. Great bunch of athletes that can play both ends of the court,” said Tucker. “We will be high-energy both ways. We will play a controlled up-tempo game.”
He acknowledged that the bench needs to see progression to get where the team wants to be at the end of the season.
“We need to find some depth. Especially in the guard position.”
Cascade lost seven seniors to graduation from an 11-8 team last season.
The Ramblers will have a completely new-look to them, with bench players from a year ago in Wyatt Stocks and Michael Onaindia expected to see major hikes in minutes.
Entering his 11th season at Cascade, head coach Conor Kennedy is eager to get going with the new group and pinpointed that as what he was most excited about for the new season.
“Getting to start fresh and new and letting them establish an identity.”
It’s all about minimizing turnovers for a youthful Ramblers group.
“We will have decent size and be athletic still. If we can handle ball pressure we can win some games,” said Kennedy.
Garden Valley is led by seniors Trystan Knox and Darell Lindstrom-Peppers, both seniors who should bring leadership and big game experience to the floor for the Wolverines.
“They didn't have a good record last year but were in every game. They have a good group of young kids,” said Salmon River’s Tucker.
“They have a good young group coming up,” added Council’s Tucker.
Meadows Valley, according to our records, has not won a game since knocking off Kootenai 64-63 in the 2011 state tournament at Caldwell. The Mountaineers are led by scoring threat Miguel Mendoza-Martinez.