Things are looking
up for Wood River boys
coach Jeff Larson is doing plenty of looking up and looking ahead as the
Wood River High School basketball program kicks into gear with 33 players
on three teams.
looking up because the Wolverine varsity, despite its relative youth, has
excellent size. And Larson is looking ahead with enthusiasm because the
team is coachable and has a solid work ethic.
all those promising signs into victories is another thing, as the
31-year-old Larson (11-35) knows too well.
Wolverines won only three of their 23 games and didn’t win a league game
until the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference tourney.
made a lot of progress as a coach in 2000-01. Wood River kept its focus,
beat Filer in the tournament and nearly upset Gooding in overtime. This
year’s Wood River teams are the beneficiaries.
take things a step at a time. On defense for example.
"We’ve played almost exclusively a man-to-man in the past, but we’ll
play a lot more zone—a 1-3-1 trap and 3-2 match-up. But it will take us
a while to learn how to play it.
the beginning we’ll work real hard on our man. When we’re satisfied
with the intensity in the man-to-man, we’ll move more toward the
has been Wood River’s Achilles heel since the last time the Hailey
basketball program posted a winning varsity season, back in 1992.
he hasn’t had a true post player in his time as Hailey coach, but he has
three in 6-4, 270-pound Jeff Bolton, 6-6 sophomore Jason Hofman and 6-4
junior Max Dieffenbach.
senior, is a co-captain along with seniors Matt Beck and Cole Everman. The
fact that Bolton hasn’t played basketball since he was a freshman doesn’t
has very good hands and feet for his size. He played basketball all summer
and has showed a willingness to learn post moves. But the big thing about
Jeff is his leadership on and off the floor," said Larson.
post presence frees up the 6-2 Beck (8.2 ppg last season) to shift into
more of a power forward role. An All-SCIC honorable mention pick in 2001,
Beck can do many things and seems to play better when something fires him
said, "Beck can score inside and also has decent range shooting
outside. I think he’ll be stronger rebounding for us this year.
want to take advantage of our size and go inside to Matt and Jeff. And we
want to get to the free throw line."
the lack of free throw shooting contributed to the 15.7 ppg losing margin
of last year’s squad. Wood River averaged only 13 trips to the charity
stripe, making only 7.
To win in
the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference, however, you have to make free
throws and clear the glass. Until its sophomore outside shooters gain
confidence, Wood River will hammer it inside.
said, "Right now, we’re very structured, running a lot of sets and
setting a lot of screens. We have guys down low who can go get the ball.
And we have decent speed.
the old flex motion offense. We know what we want to get and we’ll keep
running it until we get it. Basically, we want to get the ball inside and
when they collapse on us, we’ll get it back outside to McIlhenny,
Paisley and Everman."
(3.0 ppg) is a key swing player, a 6-1 forward. "Cole is real solid
and has a lot of desire. He’s not afraid to go inside and has a knack
for getting to the ball," said Larson.
Hofman is a
6-6 youngster who still seems to be growing. His primary role will be
rebounding, Larson said, and Everman will go to the boards as well. The
other power forward is 6-1 junior Paul Tinker.
youth will be predominantly displayed at the guard positions with four
sophomores—6-1 Dylan McIlhenny and 5-9 Joe Paisley at the point, and 6-0
Matt Pruett and 5-11 Brian Ward as #2 guards/small forwards.
squad will miss the outside shooting of All-SCIC guard Sky Wolfe, who
tallied 633 points (9.3 ppg) in his 68-game varsity career.
Wood River has added 4A schools Jerome and Burley to its schedule and has
subtracted 3A Salmon, 3A Middleton and the two-day McCall Christmas
It will be
the first time Wood River has played Jerome since 1998. Larson said,
"We’ll eventually be in Jerome’s league and we want to start
getting used to it right away."
Hornets entered last year’s State A-2 tournament with the SCIC title and
a 23-0 record then bowed out with losses to eventual state champion
Preston and state consolation winner Lakeland.
expects Declo to be the clear SCIC favorite this season, with Kimberly not
far behind. Declo nipped Kimberly 50-46 in the SCIC championship game last
Feb. 21 in Twin Falls.
"Another team that will be decent is Gooding (10-13). They have their
big kids back. And Buhl always knows how to compete. Filer has a new head
coach this year."
Kimberly are the favorites in the race for the SCIC’s two automatic
berths to the State 3A tournament, but the other four teams in the league
are very close, he added.
of the rest of the teams in the league behind Declo and Kimberly could
finish anywhere," Larson said.
opens its 20-game 2001-02 campaign Thursday, Nov. 29 with non-league games
at Glenns Ferry.
junior varsity coached by Steve Anderson are Dylan Welcome, Kent Daniels,
Christian Ostrom, Scott Bohrer, Jake Chaney, Luiz Ruiz, Tory Haavik,
Jeremy Selcho, Riley Neff and Tyler Brown.
"C" team coached by Sharon Castle features all freshmen—Brady
Femling, Dylan Fullmer, Philip Bradshaw, Sam Rodriguez, Dustin Hollenbeck,
Jonathan Dittmer, Craig Werley, Tyler Thiede, Mike Hess, Ted Dankanyin,
Chris Santiago, Billy Kramer and Jess Matey.