Priest River Lamanna High School
Conference: 3A Intermountain League
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Priest River Lamanna High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Christina Leonard
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Record Last Year: 10-17
State Titles: 2010
Randi Pothoff, 12, W
Liann Kren, 11, W/P
Natalie Petit, 11, P
Key Players lost from last year:
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #44 Natalie Petit
3A Intermountain League
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
2. Bonners Ferry
4. Priest River
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Lilly Kelley, Senior, Timberlake
Shelby Starr, Senior, Timberlake
McKeeley Tonkin, Junior, Timberlake
Kadi Bateman, Senior, Bonners Ferry
Kassy Skeen, Senior, Bonners Ferry
Kaili Cates, Senior, Kellogg
Two-time defending state champion Timberlake lost some major pieces from its core group, including three players who have went on to continue their basketball careers in college.
Allison Kirby is at Idaho, Keelie Lawler went to Western State Colorado University and Jacquelyn Mallet is playing collegiately at The Master’s University.
Fortunately for 13th year head coach Matt Miller, the girls from Spirit Lake still have plenty of talent coming back, led by All-League talents Lilly Kelly, Shelby Starr and McKeeley Tonkin.
Each of the returning All-League players are guards, however don’t let that fool you, this Timberlake team could very well play inside far more often than it has in the past, with quality posts like senior Kaylee Jezek and incoming freshman Brooke Jessen in place.
With a fair amount of youth, Miller is excited to see how it all plays out this season.
“I’m excited to see if this team will be able to reach its full potential. We pressure on defense and try to play fast on offense. I think we will be very balanced scoring. I’m hoping we can decrease our turnovers as the season continues.”
Bonners Ferry is a team that has the potential to surprise some people this year, as the Badgers look to secure one of the two berths into the state tournament, something they have not done since 2013.
Seniors Kadi Bateman and Kassy Skeen were instrumental in the championship run for the Badgers on the softball diamond this past spring, and now they will look to translate that success onto the hardwood.
“I think Bonners Ferry could be a solid team. They will have a lot of experienced seniors,” said Miller.
Kellogg welcomes in first year head coach Jana Nearing-Kothe, and is another team that could make a run at a state tournament berth this season.
The Wildcats lost just two seniors from a year ago, welcoming back multiple key players led by Kaili Cates.
With new sideline leadership, it’s a clean slate in Kellogg.
“New coach, new season. We are excited to get to work and increase our team work ethic and strength offensively and defensively. We are focusing on conditioning and getting back to the basics fundamentally,” said Nearing-Kothe.
Replacing the All-League guards that did exit to graduation will be difficult, but the first year head coach is excited about sophomore Jaron Figueroa.
The depth that the Wildcats have is something that could separate them from the field come early February.
“We are a very strong and fast team. We see the floor well and we have athletic bigs who can produce offensively and defensively. We have a strong bench, which will be key in winning ball games,” added Nearing-Kothe.
Priest River made a trip to the state tournament last season, but the Spartans lost seven key seniors, meaning it will be a very different look this time around. From the state tournament roster of a year ago, Randi Pothoff is the only returning senior.