Sugar-Salem High School
Conference: 3A Mountain Rivers Conference
Head Coach: Shawn Freeman
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Record Last Year: 13-11
State Titles: 1962, 1973, 1993, 1994
Troy Sakota, Kirk Smith, Bryant Harris, Karl Gehmlich, Justin Schmitt
Jed Baldwin, F, 12; Jace Hymas, G, 12; Bryce Choffin, SG, 12; Braxton Esplin, P, 12
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Josh Shirley, SG We will miss his leadership and scoring ability. Payton Anderson, P, will miss his Rebounding and inside presence.
Incoming “impact” players:
Luke Holt, G, 11; Parker Miller F, 11
Written by: Will Hoenike
One thing that third-year head coach Shawn Freeman can be excited about for the Sugar-Salem Diggers – his team has a great nucleus of senior experience returning for the 2015-16 season.
Jed Baldwin, Jace Hymas, Bryce Choffin and Braxton Esplin all return for their final season of high-school basketball after playing for last season’s 12-9 Diggers’ team.
Hopefully this season’s edition can clear the South Fremont hurdle.
"South Fremont," Freeman told IdahoSports.com. "This is always a great rivalry game."
Great moments make great rivalries and the two teams met four times last season, splitting in the regular season before South Fremont got the best of the Diggers twice in the district tournament, stopping Sugar-Salem one step short of the district championship game. No doubt Freeman and his returning players remember that.
Baldwin, a senior forward, provided offense for the Diggers last season and should again be a key part of the offensive attack as the Diggers look to replace departed senior Josh Shirley in the scoring column. Hymas will also take an expanded role in the offense as will Bryce Choffin, the latest in a line of successful Choffins in Sugar City.
Esplin, a power forward, will be counted on to help provide inside presence for Coach Freeman.
"I believe that we will have the ability to get up the floor quickly to look for early scoring opportunities," Freeman said, but also noted he doesn’t think his team will force bad shots in adding, "We will try and look to move the ball and be patient for good looks."
A key for the Diggers this season will be to finish strong. Sugar-Salem won six straight games last season to buoy its record at 11-6 going into a key series of Mountain Rivers games, but the team then lost three of four going into the district tournament before almost fighting itself back into the district championship game.
With the returning experience and improvement of talented juniors Parker Miller and Luke Holt, Freeman and the Diggers should be in position to make another run towards the district championship game. The foundation is there and the Diggers should be a tough team to beat in the Mountain Rivers.