Potlatch High School
Conference: 1AD1 Whitepine League
Classification: 1A D1
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Potlatch High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Larry Heustis
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
State Titles: None
Callie Ackerman, 12, G
Key Players lost from last year:
Brookelyn Carpenter, F
Blair Anderson, G
Rylee Chambers, P
Photo By: Mark Borth - #1 Callie Ackerman
1AD1 Whitepine League
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
7. Clearwater Valley
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Angela Wemhoff, Senior, Prairie
Leah Higgins, Senior, Prairie
Josie Peery, Senior, Prairie
Amil Mitchell, Senior, Lapwai
Raquel Domebo, Junior, Lapwai
Courtney Burt, Senior, Genesee
Anna Druffel, Senior, Genesee
Emerson Parkins, Sophomore, Genesee
Jordyne Fredrickson, Junior, Troy
Lacey Kludt, Senior, Kamiah
Callie Ackerman, Senior, Potlatch
For the last ten years the 1AD1 classification of girls basketball in Idaho has been entirely dominated by the Whitepine League.
Since 2009 when the 1AD1 classification was formed for girls basketball, the league has had both representatives in each state championship game, including last season when Lapwai defeated Prairie 79-40.
The Wildcats will have to find a way to replace the immense productivity lost with the graduation of eight key players from a year ago, including leading scorer Koyama Young and defensive stalwart Iris Domebo.
Meanwhile Lapwai’s opponent in the title tilt, Prairie, has a quality core returning which looks primed to head right back into February as a favorite at state.
First Team All-State senior guard Angela Wemhoff highlights the returners, and she is joined by senior posts Leah Higgins, Sydney Bruner and Josie Peery, along with sophomore perimeter option India Peery to give defenses tough assignments on a nightly basis.
“We hope to play up-tempo, quick pace basketball,” said eighth year Prairie head coach Lori Mader. “[I am excited] about coaching kids that work hard and are willing to listen.”
While Lapwai did lose a lot from last season, it would not be wise to bet against a team that has played in every state championship game since 2013, not to mention the Wildcats are also three-time defending champs.
“I am mostly excited about how deep we are this year and the young talent we have. Once these young players discover their talents and learn the game of basketball at the varsity level they are going to be tough. I know we lost a lot great players and people are curious of how we will do. I see us being in the thick of things come playoff time and I also see us contending again at state in years to come with this young group,” said Lapwai head coach Eric Spencer.
A trio of players will lead the charge this season, with All-State guard Amil Mitchell joined by Raquel Domebo and Wax Wisdom as the impact returners from a year ago.
Part of the fun at any level of basketball is dealing with change, and that is something the Wildcats will have plenty of opportunities to do this season.
“We are so young and also very different in height and length than the three previous years. We are working on finding our identity and what we do well. That is the fun part and challenging part of being a high school coach. Every year I may have to change the way we play defensively and offensively by the talent pool I have to work with,” added Spencer.
Genesee and its fifth year head coach Brandon McIntosh are a team that could see a major spike in wins this season after what was an injury plagued 2016/2017 year.
McIntosh says he is excited to have players such as Anna Druffel, Courtney Burt, Regan Zenner and Emerson Parkins back at full strength.
One of the players for the Lady Bulldogs that could see a big increase in production is senior guard Virginia Monk.
“She will find herself on the floor more as she has improved leaps and bounds heading into this season,” added McIntosh.
For Genesee, quick players like Parkins, Zenner and Burt will help in a big way, especially on the defensive end.
On the other side of the things when the Lady Bulldogs have the ball on offense, they will hope to improve upon their 33 points per game of a year ago, something they seem primed to be able to do.
With Druffel back from a broken arm, she is a player that could very likely lead the team in scoring, while role players like Kelsey Jensen, Kaylee Flodin and Brooklyn Mayer will be important pieces to the puzzle as well.
Multiple coaches from around the Whitepine mentioned Genesee as a team that could surprise some people.
“They return two All-Conference girls who missed last year due to injury and could be right in the middle of the conference chase,” said Kamiah head coach Nels Kludt.
With team chemistry at an all-time high, things are looking good for the ladies in blue this year.
“This has been the closest knit team in my five years,” added McIntosh.
Troy lost major production from last season, including dominant post presence Abbey Blum and primary ball-handler Emma Schetzle.
Jordyne Fredrickson and Katy Doumit are a couple of the returners from the state tournament team of a year ago.
“The returners are learning new roles and the team must continue to develop through adversity. It will be exciting to see how they come together as a team throughout this season,” said Troy head coach Aaron Dail.
While this may be a transition year for the Trojans, don’t expect the style of the team to change much.
“We are an aggressive pressure team man-to-man defensively. We hope to tire teams out with pressure. Offensively we hope to be patient and work for good shots. We must learn how to compete against higher competition to get where we want to be,” added Dail.
Kamiah is a tough defensive team that may struggle to score to a certain extent, but you can bet the Kubs will give it 100 percent effort each night.
“We have the majority of our players back from last year’s team, so our chemistry and experience should be strengths. We have two strong leaders back in Lacey Kludt and Chynna Wilcox, and have added some size in Makel Whitney, and athleticism in Irene Popp and Destiny Knight,” said Kamiah head coach Nels Kludt.
The Kubs will be another team that is aggressive on the defensive end.
“We run a motion offense and an aggressive man-to-man defense. Our kids are aggressive and work extremely hard. We need to be a better rebounding team on both ends of the floor, and improve our shooting to be more successful,” added Kludt.
Potlatch returns senior guard Callie Ackerman from a 12-win team of a year ago, but may have more of a tough time this season.
Clearwater Valley is in a similar boat, but could win some games and surprise people if they keep the game pace at their own speed.