2A Southeast Idaho Conference
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Soda Springs
2. Bear Lake
5. West Side
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sadie Gronning, Soda Springs
Dani Smith, Soda Springs
Jorianne Balls, Soda Springs
Hailey Humpherys, Bear Lake
Yasmin Ortiz, Aberdeen
Jenna Peterson, Malad
Kasjia Fuller, West Side
Written by Katie Knight
As the two-time defending state champion, Soda Springs was picked to finish atop the SIC for the 2020 season. The seniors who are returning for Head Coach Wade Schvaneveldt have earned hardware at the state tournament for the past three years.
The standout players returning for the Cardinals are Sadie Gronning, Dani Smith and Jorianne Balls, all looking for repeated success. They are ready to lead a talented and disciplined squad. Coach Schvaneveldt’s players know their system and his team will have the depth and experience to make another deep run at the state tournament this season.
Bear Lake High School is knocking on the door of Soda Springs and hoping to challenge for the top spot. Head Coach Brenda Messerly is bringing back six players, including Hailey Humpherys and Chelsea Gunderson, both who earned second-team all-conference honors in 2019. Combine their talent with seniors Jimi Lloyd, Elisabeth McDowell, Josi Kelsey and sophomore Kalisha Parker, and this Bear Lake squad is bringing back key varsity experience.
“We were in a lot of close games last season that allowed us to grow and learn from as a program,” Messerly said. “We hope to use these experiences as a foundation to build from going forward into this season.”
Coach Messerly said she expects her team to “play fast and aggressive on both ends of the floor while focusing and improving our execution offensively.”
The Bear Lake squad will use what Messerly said is “amazing energy and love for the game of basketball,” as they prepare to compete for a conference title.
Aberdeen is on multiple coach’s radars heading into the 2019-2020 season.
“Aberdeen has the tools to take a huge step forward this year. They have a young roster that has a lot of potential,” Messerly said.
Being the one senior among the six returners, Zenaida Colungo will lead at the guard position after returning from a knee injury last year. Also in the backcourt will be second-team all-conference selection sophomore guard Yasmin Ortiz. Other sophomores with experience as freshmen starters are Hope Driscoll, Ellie Watson and Courtney Phillips. Junior Elizabet Serna, also back from an injury, will provide a strong presence down low.
“Although we’re still a very young team, we’re more experienced and deeper than we were a year ago,” said Head Coach Ryan Whalen.
Embracing the youth of a team can be a challenge, but Whalen knows his team has the experience.
“We try to be aggressive on both ends of the floor. We have a quick and athletic team,” Whalen said.
A new face will be on the bench for Malad this season as first-year Head Coach Ty Price takes over a competitive program.
“We are in a rebuilding year of sorts that will come with a new coach, a new team and a new system,” Price said. “However, I feel like as the year goes on, this group of girls will come together and buy into the new system and be able to find success.”
Senior guard Jenna Peterson leads her teammates as they put in hard work over the summer.
“We have good speed this year and a group of very hard-working girls,” Price said. “Many of the girls have made great progress this summer in the gym and we will be relying on them to make a great impact for our team.”
Incoming players, Riley Dorius, Shannen Hudnell, Rylee Jacobsen, Brooklyn Gross, Halley Haycock and Jeni Alder are ready for the opportunity to contribute for the Dragons.
West Side is another SIC squad with quality experience and a deep roster. Sienna Fuller, Kajsia Fuller and Jocie Phillips will lead a total of seven returners for Head Coach Bob Sorensen.
“This group of girls has worked very hard to improve,” Sorensen said. “They are so easy coach and want to do well.”
With his core of players coming back, Sorensen is emphasizing better help defense and more aggressive pressure. On the offensive side of the ball, his team is “improving our offensive productivity and execution to allow us better opportunities to score.” The Pirates are more confident this season and Sorensen said he is “looking forward to seeing who will step up on this team to be a leading scorer.”