Burley High School
Conference: Great Basin (West) Conference
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Burley High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Roger Caresia
Years as Head Coach: 8th Season
Previous Experience: 26 Years
Record Last Year: 15-9
State Titles: 2007
Sydney Pilling, 12, G
Hallie Cooke, 12, W
Returning Players with Honors:
Sydney Pilling, All-Conference
Hallie Cook, All-Conference
Incoming impact players:
Becca Tolman, 12, W
Natalie Rice, 12, W
Jemilynn Mahoney, 12, P
Ashley Shirley, 12, W
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #10 Sydney Pilling
4A Great Basin Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Twin Falls
5. Wood River
6. Canyon Ridge
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Taylia Stimpson, Junior, Minico
Morgan Harr, Senior, Twin Falls
Saydi Anderson, Senior, Minico
Sydney Pilling, Senior, Burley
Caitlin Crist, Senior, Canyon Ridge
Patrea Topp, Junior, Wood River
Nicole Cook, Senior, Jerome
Madison Glascock, Senior, Twin Falls
Entering the new season it looks like a fun race for the top in the Great Basin Conference, with multiple teams appearing to have a shot at playing some extra basketball in the Treasure Valley come February.
Burley was the pick to take home conference supremacy in the preseason coaches poll, with talented All-Conference perimeter players Sydney Pilling and Hallie Cooke each returning for their senior season.
The senior duo has as much experience surrounding it as any team in the state, with an upperclassmen heavy roster. Other seniors to watch are wing players Becca Tolman, Natalie Rice and Ashley Shirley, and interior presence Jemilynn Mahoney.
“It’s a strong senior class with lots of experience,” said eighth year head coach Roger Caresia. “We are up-tempo on offense and man-to-man on defense.”
The Bobcats will have plenty of competition atop the conference, with Minico, Twin Falls and Jerome all threats to make some noise if things go right.
Minico will be playing with a chip on the shoulder as the Spartans look to avenge a district championship game loss to Twin Falls last season. While a strong senior class of six has graduated, some good options are back in place in Rupert to keep the team headed in the right direction.
Multiple coaches throughout the conference mentioned Taylia Stimpson and Saydi Anderson as players to watch, so look for that duo to lead the charge for head coach Anna Bateman.
After falling just shy of a trip to the state championship, the Twin Falls Bruins will have a tough task to try to repeat the successes of a year ago.
Gone are standout seniors such as Maddie Aardema and Amelia Deaton, along with a pair of players who have decided to not play basketball this season, leaving the Bruins left to rely on a new core group of younger talent to go along with a great senior trio.
That senior trio is Morgan Harr, Madison Glascock and Kylie Baumert, with Harr a probable option to carry the bulk of the scoring load for Twin Falls.
Outside of the three teams that you will typically find atop the conference standings, Jerome has some sleeper potential.
“If their young kids develop quickly they could make some noise in the conference,” said Canyon Ridge head coach Kevin Cato.
It’s not all youth for the Tigers however, as senior All-Conference point guard Nicole Cook is back to lead the charge, alongside five other key seniors.
A strong sophomore class piloted by guard Mercedes Bell should be fun to watch as well.
“This year brings a lot of excitement and enthusiasm that we haven’t had for a couple of years. The girls work hard, they put a lot of time in during the offseason and they have a desire to learn and get better,” said Jerome head coach Jeremy Munroe.
As is the case with any team breaking in a crop of new players, there will be a learning curve though.
“We are working on improving everything we can. We are a young team with seven sophomores. To be successful, we just need to get better and become more disciplined every day,” added Munroe.
Second Team All-Conference senior guard Caitlin Crist returns for Canyon Ridge, where she will be asked to provide even more production following the loss of second leading scorer Lexi DeWalt and team leader Madi Bauman to graduation.
“I like our team chemistry,” said Cato. “I think we will be improved defensively this year. I think some keys will be the development of players Alexa Thomas [guard] and Brooklyn Weston [center].”
To take the next step though, the Riverhawks will have to take better care of the basketball.
“We are a motion offense team and we will run man-to-man most of the time on defense. Our decision making on offense needs to continue to improve as well as our anticipation on the defensive end,” added Cato.
Wood River is a young team that is slowly improving. Senior Patrea Topp is their player to watch, as the Wolverines look to get back into double digit wins again this season after 11 in the 2016/2017 campaign.
With so much parity towards the top of the conference, it could all come down to health.
“I think the team that stays healthy, and that develops depth behind their best players will come out of the conference with a great shot to make some noise at state,” said Munroe.
Two teams out of the Great Basin Conference will earn a spot in the state tournament.