Oakley High School
Conference: 1AD1 Snake River Conference
Classification: 1A D1
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Oakley High School Team Bio
Head Coach: Matt Payton
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: Oakley JV Boys
Record Last Year: 23-3
State Titles: 1930
Jaclyn Wybenga, 12, G
Brittany Hardy, 12, P
Blakely Payton, 12, G
Rachael Mitton, 12, P
Key Players lost from last year:
Talia Eqluist, G
Dixie Whittle, G
Written by: Sven Alskog
1AD1 Snake River Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
4. Raft River
6. Glenns Ferry
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sage Wootan, Senior, Glenns Ferry
MaKenna Hedelius, Senior, Glenns Ferry
Rachael Mitton, Senior, Oakley
Brittany Hardy, Senior, Oakley
Blakely Payton, Senior, Oakley
Bailee Owens, Junior, Shoshone
Jaclyn Wybenga, Senior, Oakley
Mandi Carpenter, Senior, Raft River
Auda Jones, Senior, Raft River
Kamri Ottley, Sophomore, Raft River
Cierra Hennings, Junior, Shoshone
Elly Yore, Junior, Hagerman
With one of the preseason favorites in the 1AD1 classification residing in the conference, the SRC looks to have quality talent throughout its teams in the new year.
The Oakley Hornets graduated just two seniors from last season, with head coach Matt Payton bringing back dominating post presences Rachael Mitton and Brittany Hardy to go along with guards Jaclyn Wybenga and Blakely Payton.
That inside-out combination is going to make Oakley a difficult team to slow down on the offensive end, with lots of length to cause plenty of difficulties for opponents on the other side of the ball as well.
“Oakley has girls all the way across the board that can hurt you, but with Mitton in the middle, she can cause some headaches for an opposing coach,” said Raft River head coach Cody Powers.
Shoshone appears to be primed to be a strong challenger for the Hornets, with juniors Bailee Owens and Cierra Hennings leading the way. Both are entering their third year as starters and should be some of the most dynamic players in the conference.
“Shoshone has Owens and Hennings that have been in their starting lineup since their freshman season that are always tough to play against. Owens really rebounds the ball well and plays with a high motor. Hennings has a beauty of a jump shot, so they pack a pretty nice 1-2 punch,” added Powers.
A team that could surprise some people this year is Hagerman, a team led by first year head coach Derrick Lyons.
Nine key players return from a year ago, including some good size that should help the Pirates on a nightly basis.
Some of the impact returners include juniors Elly Yore and Marina Acuna, along with seniors Aubri Archabal and Brenna Firth.
“We are excited about having a lot of girls that have had some varsity experience in the past, as well as knowing that we have multiple girls that will be able to handle the ball on offense for us this year,” said Lyons. “Our style of play will be more up-tempo than in the past. We have a lot of length, so we expect to be better on defense and on the glass. We need to improve our spacing and keeping our turnovers down to be successful this season.”
Opposing coaches think the Pirates could see a spike in wins after a 6-19 season a year ago.
“I think Hagerman could surprise some people. They graduated some key players from last season and have a new coaching staff this year, but they always play hard and rebound the ball. They’re definitely a team that you can’t overlook,” said Powers.
Second Team All-Conference selections Mandi Carpenter and Audah Jones are back for Raft River. Combined with the return of Bailey Loughmiller from injury and sophomore guard Kamri Ottley, the Trojans could make some noise.
There are plenty of positives for this group, but also some areas to work on.
“We have some length and athleticism all across the board that should help us on the defensive end, but we need to be better at rebounding the basketball on both ends of the floor if we want to have any chance of getting to where we want to be this year, and the girls understand that and know we have to be better,” said Powers.
The third year coach and his team are ready to embark on a new season, and think that things could trend upward this time around.
“[We’re] excited to get back on the court and see how the girls do building off of last season. We talk to our girls every day about just focusing on improving and getting better. Last season, we felt like we got better from the season before. We have increased our win total the last two seasons, and with most of our team returning this year, we’re hoping we see more success,” said Powers.
Valley lost some major impact performers from a state tournament team of a year ago, including Kynsee Mussmann, Madisyn Kimmel and Taylor Hodges.
While the faces may have changed, the team bond is there to reload, rather than rebuild.
“This year’s team has good team chemistry. They play well with each other and are friends on and off the court. Offensively this group passes well and has good court sense. Defensively, they are extremely scrappy and play with outstanding intensity. We will be working on improving our rebounding on both ends of the court, and getting better at team defense every game,” said Valley head coach Jamie Kohtz.
It may be tough to reach the 21-win mark again, but teams in the SRC can’t afford to overlook the Vikings.
“I feel just because they are a young team, many will overlook the potential that they will have in their program,” said Glenns Ferry head coach Rick Hance.
Hance has many reasons for optimism with his Pilots roster as well, with six seniors returning.
Sage Wootan is a senior rebounding machine on the interior, with Luisa Garcia a good option next to her down low for wing MaKenna Hedelius to find.
“I think that the biggest aspect of the team that brings excitement to me as a coach is their chemistry together, especially those six senior girls. They have been in this sport together for a while, which brings the rhythm both offensively and defensively. They have the leadership and personalities which will spread throughout the team,” said Hance.
He thinks this team can adjust well to whatever the conference foes throw at them.
“The girls have their own unique style of play on both ends, but what I appreciate the most is they know when to switch to a higher gear and when to slow down. Our conference will be packed full of talented teams with amazing coaches. To be successful, we have to identify our strengths and their weaknesses to capitalize,” added Hance.