It’s a tough act to follow for first-year Wood River High School girls’ varsity basketball head coach Matt Newhouse.
He’s taken over for the successful husband-and-wife coaching duo of Mendy Benson (43-26) and Kevin Stilling (15-10). All they did in four seasons was guide the Wolverines to two Great Basin Conference tourney titles and two straight trophies (2nd 2011, 3rd 2012) at the State 4A tournament.
But Newhouse, a Wood River High special education teacher, has loads of girls’ and boys’ coaching experience in Alaska, Washington State and Michigan dating back to his 1992 graduation from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
And he’s looking ahead eagerly to what should be an 18-game rebuilding season for the 2012-13 Wolverines. The campaign opens today, Wednesday with non-conference games against the Kimberly Bulldogs at the Hailey high school gym.
Newhouse, the 10th head coach in 38 Wolverine seasons, will rely on three seniors plus a strong sophomore class of six. “The bulk of team is 10th graders,” said Newhouse.
He said, “We’re young, but we can run and we’re pretty athletic. We’ll rebound by committee and rely on the athleticism and aggressive nature of the kids. In the past we relied on K.T. (Martinez) to manage the game. We’ll have to get used to pushing the ball and having multiple people responsible for managing the game.”
About his coaching style, Newhouse said, “I’m old school. I like the read-and-react traditional motion offense that relies heavily on screening. I like to get up and down the floor and, if you’re open, you shoot. I’m definitely a transition guy. Defensively, my base defense is man-to-man, although I’ve played a lot of 2-3 zone the last several years I’ve coached.”
Wood River graduated 78% of its 42.5 ppg scoring from 2012 including post Haylee Thompson, Martinez, post Cheyenne Swanson and Haillie Taylor.
Newhouse’s returning starter from last year’s team is 5-7 senior Hannah Belloli (2.5 ppg). “Hannah is a wing with experience who will provide leadership. She defends well and will be counted upon to look at the basket more (for scoring),” the coach said.
Other seniors are 5-7 wing Kennedie Howard and 6-0 post Sydney Tidwell. “Sydney will be an important piece of the puzzle. She’s a pretty athletic kid,” said Newhouse.
Sophomore 5-7 point guard Ciceley Peavey (1.8 ppg) was introduced to varsity challenges in managing the Hailey offense for 13 games before the return of GBC Co-Player of the Year Martinez last January. Soph guard Brittney Bradley will help distribute the ball.
Other sophomores include 5-4 guard Kenya Schott, 5-8 wing/post Haylee Pettit and 5-8 wing Samantha Sutton. Rory Cole, a talented 5-11 sophomore post who earned plenty of time spelling Thompson and Swanson last winter, is due to return from a knee injury in January.
Rounding out the varsity are 5-9 junior Christina Contreras and 6-2 post Giselle Andrade.
Newhouse’s staff includes returning varsity assistant coach Krista Cater, returning junior varsity head coach J.C. Nemecek and first-year freshman coach Heidi Husbands, assisted by Raeghen Peavey.
Reigning State 4A tournament champion Middleton, winner of 49 consecutive games, has won three straight State 4A titles and four in five years. One of those championships came over Wood River in 2011 at The Idaho Center.
2012-13 WRHS GIRLS Basketball Schedule
A total 18 games on the regular-season schedule for the 2012-13 Wolverine girls; 9 home and 9 away. All home games at Wood River High School gym, Hailey. General admission $5. Wood River's home varsity/JV/frosh games are in bold type. Fourth District Great Basin Conference 4A games are marked with an asterisk (*). All home freshmen games start at 5:50 p.m. and JV 6 p.m. with varsity following at 7:30 p.m.
Varsity, JV, freshmen
DATE, DAY OPPONENT LOCATION
Nov. 14, WednesdayKimberlyHome, 5:50/6/7:30
Nov. 17, SaturdayFilerAway, 2/3:30/5
Nov. 20, TuesdayGoodingHome, 5:50/6/7:30
Nov. 27, TuesdayMinico*Home, 5:50/6/7:30
Nov. 29, ThursdayJerome*Home, 5:50/6/7:30
Dec. 1, SaturdayBuhl (no freshmen)Away, 3:30/5
Dec. 5, WednesdayTwin Falls*Away, 6/7:30
Dec. 7, FridayCanyon Ridge*Home, 5:50/6/7:30
Dec. 11, TuesdayKimberlyAway, 4:30/6/7:30
Dec. 13, ThursdayBurley*Away, 6/7:30
Dec. 18, TuesdayFilerHome, 5:50/6/7:30
Dec. 20, ThursdayGoodingAway, 4:30/6/7:30
Jan. 9, WednesdayJerome*Away, 4:30/6/7:30
Jan. 11, FridayTwin Falls*Home, 5:50/6/7:30
Jan. 15, TuesdayCanyon Ridge*Twin Falls, 6/7:30
Jan. 17, ThursdayBurley*Home, 5:50/6/7:30
Jan. 22, TuesdayMinico*Rupert, 6/7:30
Jan. 24, ThursdayBuhl (Senior Night)Home, 6/7:30
Jan. 29, TuesdayGreat Basin District 4ASite of higher seed, 7:00
Feb. 7, ThursdayGreat Basin completionHigher seed, 7:00
Feb. 14, ThursdayState 4AMountain View High, Meridian
NOTES—The 6-school Great Basin Conference 4th District (WR, Jerome, Burley, Minico, Twin Falls, Canyon Ridge) gets 2 berths in the State 4A tournament, with the league tournament winner and runner-up automatically qualifying for state….In opening-round 2013 State 4A match-ups at Mountain View High School in Meridian, the Great Basin Conference champion plays the runner-up team from 5th/6th District (Idaho Falls and Pocatello area); and the GBC runner-up has drawn the Boise-area champion.....Booster athletic season tickets for all Wood River sporting events during the 2012-13 school year are available. Drop by the high school and see activities director John Rade. Senior citizens 65-and-over are admitted free.