2A Western Idaho Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
T-2. Cole Valley Christian
6. New Plymouth
7. Vision Charter
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Caleb Fong, Melba
Henry Clark, Melba
Joe Reiber, Melba
Josh Cucchiari, Cole Valley
DJ Johnson, McCall-Donnelly
Joel Meske, McCall-Donnelly
Rusty Vander Woude, Nampa Christian
Jacob Ankeny, Marsing
Written by Katie Knight
With a roster that as 10 of 11 players returning, Melba is poised for a successful 2019-2020 season. Head Coach Spencer Trappett recognizes his team’s depth and their ability to play tough man to man pressure defense. This year’s Melba team has “more experience and multiple players that can play,” according to Trappett.
Leading the way for Melba will be Caleb Fong, Henry Clark and Joe Reiber. Other coaches recognize the strength and depth of Melba and the challenge they pose in the conference.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in the district championship game,” said Marsing Head Coach Tim Little.
Voted to a preseason tie for second place with McCall-Donnelly, Cole Valley Christian is ready for the season. Head Coach Brennan Koch has his program buying into a system with high assists and last season they outpaced their opponents with 50% more assists per game.
Senior guards Josh Cucchiari and Carson Wiedmeier will pair up with senior post Anthoney Boyle. Also returning to the line up will be junior Hunter Gill and Garrett Smith.
“We graduated a lot last year, but I am looking forward to a bunch of new guys carrying on the legacy,” Koch said.
McCall-Donnelly has height and size on their roster this season. Listed at 6-foot-11, Joel Meske is a big inside presence, ready to disrupt other teams’ offenses and own the rebounding game. Also returning is guard DJ Johnson.
Hoping for a return trip to the state tournament is 4th-ranked Marsing, with Head Coach Tom Little back for his sixth season, as well as nine boys on the roster with varsity experience. Besides graduating Enrique Quebrado, Marsing’s entire roster is back for the 2019-2020 season and another run at qualifying for the state tournament.
“Qualifying for the state tournament last year has all the players excited to get into the gym, work hard and hopefully experience state again,” Little said.
They will be led by seniors Merreck Hall, Joaquin Oliveros, Cash Sevy, and True Shippy.
“We preach a team-first attitude with patience,” said Little. “We have new roles to define and fill. However, we will have a different look offensively due to more scoring options compared to last year.”
Nampa Christian graduated nine varsity players and is bringing back three returners, one which was a starter. Junior Rusty Vander Woude, a second-team all-conference player, is leading a talented young core of players. Joining Vander Woude will be senior Joe Ihli and sophomore Caden Yett. The 10-man roster for Nampa Christian will have a total of six sophomores.
New Plymouth Head Coach Jeff Lavendar knows his team has the potential to surprise teams in the WIC this season.
“We got two players back from ACL injuries, our best sophomore Casey Arritola and best junior Tony Ray. Plus, with the return of our players with varsity experience, we should move out of the cellar of the conference,” Lavendar said.
The Pilgrims will look to seniors Derek Hampton, Jesus Valdez, Copper Hicks and Charles Butler to lead the team. Also contributing to the lineup will be Jace Watson, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior post and Tony Ray, the athletic junior coming back from injury.
“We have the skillset now that we can do the things we need to do to be a good team,” Lavendar said. “We will be able to pressure the teams better this year with more experience and athleticism.”
Starting their second season as a basketball team in the WIC, Vision Charter starts the year as an underdog. First-year Head Coach Kevin Cornwall wants his team to exceed expectations and he is excited about their ability to improve.
“We have a solid crop of seniors. They have shown a great deal of improvement as they learned the game and gained experience last year,” Cornwall said. “The positive thing is that overall, we have smart kids who listen, pay attention, have good attitudes and are very coachable.”