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Notus High School Pirates
1A D1 District III 1AD1 Western Idaho Conference
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Colors: Royal Blue & White
Head Coach:   Jim Boeder
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TEAM
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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Zeke Hayek, Centennial Baptist
Everett Stone, Gem State
Josh Yeakley, Greenleaf Friends
Logan Watson, Idaho City
Luke Starner, Liberty Charter
Luke Thomas, Liberty Charter
Benny Guevara, Notus
Ronaldo Gomez, Rimrock
Jason Koval, Riverstone
Cody Luce, Victory Charter
Noah Palomares, Victory Charter
Ethan Ingram, Vision Charter
Julian Neri, Wilder

Written by: Brandon Baney

The eleven-team Western Idaho Conference is always a chore to navigate for league coaches. So many teams with so many different styles of play can make preparation difficult. And asking the league’s eleven coaches to rank teams for an IdahoSports.com Preseason Coaches Poll? Nearly impossible.

Somehow, the results were tallied up though, and it reveals a consensus top five, followed by six teams that all have breakout potential. Victory Charter edged out Liberty Charter by a single point for the top spot, and there’s no denying that the Vipers and Patriots will again be tough to beat.

Victory Charter coach Dave Weaver welcomes back the reigning WIC Player of the Year in silky-smooth senior guard Noah Palomares. Junior guard Cody Luce is another returning All-WIC player, and senior Caleb Bosma will anchor the inside game at center.

“Noah and Cody can score from anywhere and should have success in our high tempo offense,” says coach Weaver. “But we hope to shoot a higher percentage overall as a team.”

Liberty Charter coach Seth Stallcop similarly brings back a couple of All-Conference pillars to build around in a pair of Lukes. Luke Thomas is a 5-foot-10 senior sharpshooter at guard, while Luke Starner is a 6-foot-3 senior forward who can score from the low block and the perimeter. 6-foot junior Stephen Roskam is another Patriot who is ready to break out in 2023-24.

After the top two teams in our preseason poll, there was a three-way tie for third place between Notus, Rimrock and Riverstone. The Pirates went 9-11 a season ago, and return some dynamic athletes like senior speedster Grayson Benitez, and juniors Benny Guevara and Ian Hill. Guevara and Hill were banged up a little during football season, so when they officially make their debuts on the basketball court could determine how Notus fares.

Rimrock has a new head coach, as Wylee Aquiso replaces Arron Hall. Just two years ago, the Raiders qualified for the 1AD1 State Tournament for the first time in several years, and Rimrock even defeated league rival Liberty Charter in a loser-out game for what is believed to be the first win for the Raiders at state in modern history. Junior Ronaldo Gomez will lead a scrappy squad in 2023-24.

Riverstone welcomes back 1st Team All-WIC selection Jason Koval. The remaining pieces will be a work in progress, which is why head coach Steve Bowen says, “We need good shooting, better shot selection overall, and solid team defense.” Bowen adds, “I am excited to see how our overall team develops throughout the year.”

Vision Charter welcomes back three varsity players from a year ago in senior point guard Ethan Ingram, junior wing Dakota Williams and junior post Kamden Stoker. “There are lots of opportunities for new guys to step up and play a significant role with this team,” says third-year coach Jason George. “I am excited to see how quickly we can come together and play for each other. The guys on this team have great chemistry and a lot of raw athletic talent. I fully expect us to improve and get stronger as the season progresses and the guys get more and more experience at the varsity level.”

Coach George is hoping to run an offense with strong attacks to the rim and a suffocating man-to-man pressure scheme on defense. Payton Williams, Brady Myers and Isaac Bay are some of the newcomers that could have a chance to thrive for the Golden Eagles.

Al Hansen begins his second season at Idaho City, and returns senior post Logan Watson. Hansen says the Wildcats’ strength is on the inside. “Our players are a year older and more mature,” says Hansen. “That should help us handle the pressure defenses we will face.”

Numbers are up at Gem State Adventist Academy, as the Jaguars not only filled out an eleven-man varsity team, but had enough left over for a ten-man JV squad. Coach Jeremy Perkins may have an ace up his sleeve as well in 6-foot-5 senior Everett Stone. Size like that is hard to find.

At Greenleaf Friends, it’s an opposite tale. “We continue to struggle with numbers at our school,” says coach Eric Christianson. “We have twelve total players this year. Some are first-year players, although we do have some incoming freshmen that provide some athleticism.”

Further compounding matters is the fact that point guard Sam Yeakley, the heartbeat of the team, has graduated. “Last year we struggled with inexperience and youth,” says Christianson. “We are looking to make better team-reads this year.”

Wilder coach Eric Lopez has several talented athletes to choose from at guard on this year’s team, and there’s not a senior to be found. Juniors Julian Neri and Kyevan Gephart will lead the way on the perimeter, and junior Brandon Perez will play inside. Also keep an eye on promising freshman Daniel Juarez, who should get stronger as the year goes along.

Centennial Baptist is similarly young. Head coach Brent Mai has just one senior on this year’s team, 5-foot-11 Zeke Hayek. In fact, there’s only one junior on the team as well: 6-foot Cameron Tilzey. If a group consisting of four sophomores and five freshmen can develop, the Mustangs could punch their way into the top half of the league standings.







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