1AD1 Snake River Conference
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
3. Raft River
4. Glenns Ferry
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cierra Hennings, Senior, Shoshone
Bailee Owens, Senior, Shoshone
Makenna Kohtz, Junior, Valley
Kamri Ottley, Junior, Raft River
Audah Jones, Senior, Raft River
Talli Crone, Senior, Glenns Ferry
Mallory Beck, Senior, Oakley
Defending state champion Oakley lost the majority of the core that led the Hornets to the title a year ago, leaving the door open for someone new to potentially take over atop the 1AD1 Snake River Conference.
Shoshone enters the season as the preseason favorite among the coaches with the dynamic duo of Cierra Hennings and Bailee Owens returning.
“They always give opponents problems and you have to build your game plan around them. They’re both tremendous players,” said Raft River head coach Cody Powers.
It’s not just the offensive side of the floor where Shoshone is dangerous either.
“They are rock solid defensively and have the ability to adapt quickly and effectively to stifle the offense. They have excellent offensive play on the perimeter with 3-point threats, as well as an impressive inside attack,” added Glenns Ferry head coach Rick Hance.
Valley and Raft River are both expected to be tough outs as well within conference play.
The Vikings are led by junior Makenna Kohtz and are looking to get back to state after a one year hiatus. Valley won the consolation bracket in 2017 with a 42-31 over Troy.
Raft River returns All-Conference selection Kamri Ottley, but has to replace the scoring prowess of Mandi Carpenter.
“A lot of girls from last season are back this year, which is always a good thing because you have that experience coming back. The group we have this year has also put in a lot of work to improve in a lot of different areas. When girls come back with the improvements and the experience, it’s always an exciting thing,” said Powers.
Audah Jones and Marie Branch are other returners, with a nucleus of new talent ready to step up and make an impact.
The coach is excited to see how they do.
“We feel like this team will shoot the ball better than we have in the past, but it’s going to take some time to see how things develop. We still need to get better on the defensive end, especially with rebounding. We gave up too many second and third chance opportunities last season and it killed us. Both ends of the floor we have got to see more production, and the girls know that.”
Now, the last thing left to do is get on the floor and show continued improvement.
“Excited to get back on the court. Excited about the group we have moving forward. Two years ago we saw improvements in the win column and we were hoping to build off of that last season. Things didn’t quite work out that way, so we’re looking to get back on the right track this year,” added Powers.
Post player Talli Crone and point guard Fabby Arevalo are a strong inside-out combination for Glenns Ferry, which hopes to reach double digit wins after going 9-15 a year ago.
Marilin Castro, Annessa Castillo and Jaysan Self will be some of the other key contributors for the Pilots.
“None of our girls this year will have been full time varsity players,” said Hance. “It is exciting to start with a new group with new leadership. Many of the girls who will be playing varsity this upcoming season have no experience at the varsity level. Challenging, but they are a unified group of athletes with common interests and common goals.”
As the season goes on, expect the coaching staff to adjust things based on how the players perform and respond to adversity.
“With the inexperience, the style of play will depend on how the girls continue to develop. Our focus is back to the fundamentals, which are always necessary to experience success,” added Hance.
In the preseason coaches poll Oakley finished in fifth out of the five teams, as the Hornets looks to replace the talented senior class from a year ago including Jaclyn Wybenga, Brittany Hardy, Blakely Payton and Rachael Mitton.
The Hornets will also be welcoming in new head coach Mark Mace to the sideline after Matt Payton led the team to a championship last season.
Mallory Beck should see increased opportunities as one of the returning players entering her senior season.