1. Snake River
2. Marsh Valley
3. American Falls
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Josee Steadman, Snake River
Valorie Vorwaller, Marsh Valley
Mckenzie Long, American Falls
3A Southeast Idaho Conference
Written by Brandon Hill
After a tough opening round against Parma in the 3A state tournament, Snake River rebounded with two straight victories to earn a state consolation title in 2019.
The Panthers managed this thanks to the help of now junior point guard Josee Steadman, a first-team all-state selection last season. As a sophomore, Steadman led the team in scoring and will be flanked this season by three seniors, including forward Olivia Kracle and guard Jordyn Gibert.
“We are taller team than a season ago,” said head coach Jeff Steadman. “We are returning our leading scorer and adding some girls that can score well. This will help to spread out the scoring duties.”
Now in his fourth year, Steadman said the defensive side of the ball took a hit after the graduation of Abby Morgan and Abbie Tew. In their place, Steadman hopes to rebuild a strong defense with former JV member Tatum Cherry, who he said will give the Panthers extra toughness and quickness underneath.
“We hope to have a fast-paced transition offense when it is available to our team, but also to improve our half-court sets as well,” Steadman said. “Our defense will need to improve and be more consistent.”
While Steadman looks to improve his defense, Marsh Valley Head Coach Kyle McQuivey said he’ll be looking to build an electric offense capable of keeping pace with Josee Steadman’s shooting skills.
“We have speed and cause problems for the other teams,” McQuivey said. “The offense needs to improve on finishing and taking advantage of what their defense gives us.”
Despite losing Tinacia Christensen to graduation, McQuivey said he believes players like Valerie Vorwalley and Zoie Armstrong can be intimidating presences on both sides of the court.
Looking to improve upon last year’s 8-18 record, Marsh Valley will have to first get by American Falls, a team with nothing to lose heading into 2019-2020.
The Beavers welcome back junior point guard McKenzie Long, who missed nearly all of last season to a torn ACL. Now back in action, Marsh Valley head coach Stephen Griff said Long is primed for a breakout year.
“Her impact is going to be huge to our team,” Grigg said. “She is a knockdown shooter, great decision-maker and great teammate. She will drive our team to success this season.”
The pressure will be on for Long under the bright varsity lights, as the junior point guard accumulated only one half of varsity basketball last year before suffering that season-ending injury.
On defense, Grigg implements a man defense and continues pushing his team to increase their quickness in transition as the new season gets underway.
“We will be so much better this season,” Grigg said. “American Falls has been a program that has not been very successful in recent years and this is the year we could turn the corner and get going on the right track. Our team is young and we have great youth in our younger teams, our future looks really good.”