With Fred Trenkle in the house and Wolverine fans honoring his “Night” by hoisting fat-head cardboard cut-out signs of Trenkle, you knew that Thursday’s basketball game in Hailey was going to feature something the coach relished:
Coach Trenkle coached a bunch of games in a 40-plus year career along the basketball sideline. He had his share of sharpshooters and sometimes a little height, but he always wanted one thing from his players. He said, “I want them getting after somebody.”
That’s exactly what the Wood River High School boys gave first-year head coach Andy Miles in the second half of the non-conference game with the Buhl Tribe in Hailey.
Wood River’s defensive intensity (19 steals for the game) turned around a sluggish start on “Fred Trenkle Night,” honoring the recently retired 22-year Blaine County educator and longtime basketball coach.
The Wolverines stormed back after digging a 10-point hole in the third quarter—a hole caused by Buhl’s 35-19 rebounding advantage and many Tribe second-chance points.Yet a fierce 1-3-1 zone defense featuring an effective half-court trap did its job by igniting a 12-0 Wolverine run that gave the home team a 28-26 lead with seven minutes left.
That’s when the officiating crew changed its tune and decided to call fouls—the same crew that had seemingly put its whistles in their pockets and allowed the boys some leeway earlier the pre-holiday game.
And most of the foul calls went against Wood River, 10-3 in the fourth quarter alone.
So Buhl traipsed to the free throw line 20 times in the final eight minutes and escaped with a 45-38 victory chiefly because of a 19-for-31 performance at the stripe. In contrast, Wood River shot 4-for-6 at the line.
Miles was livid and bewildered at the same time, and drew a technical foul at the height of the flurry of fouls when his main big men Eron Bates and Max Mauldin both fouled out in an 11-second span.
The home fans booed. Even Trenkle, sitting in the Wood River stands with his wife Juanita, expressed frustration.
Afterward, Miles didn’t dwell on that aspect of the game, but instead focused on what he called the lesson of the game’s second half. He said, “I feel like something clicked for us. We found the intensity that you have to have to compete.”
He has an extremely young team not only in grade level—guard Alec Nordsieck is a freshman, and key players Connor Hayes, Cody Carter and Jon Scott are sophomores—but also in varsity playing time prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
But, on Thursday night, it was Nordsieck (6.3 ppg) who led the charge by scoring 13 of his season-high 15 points in the second half to go with a team-best 5 steals and 2 assists. “I was proud of the way Alec stepped up for us,” said Miles.
Miles had started the game with Hayes as the point guard and Nordsieck as the shooting guard. That plan went out the window when Hayes drew two quick personal fouls and had to sit for most of the first half.
Another aspect that didn’t work according to the Wood River plan was rebounding. Buhl shot a lofty 59% from 2-point range, most of that attributable to offensive rebounding and second chances.
Miles said, “The main thing I talked about in pre-game was—box out, box out, box out. If we box out, we win. Well, we didn’t box out. Still, at halftime, I told them we’re only down five points (19-14) and I think nothing can hold us down.”
With Buhl’s Taylor Oppedyk yanking down five boards in the third quarter, the Tribe crept ahead 26-16 with four minutes left in the period and Miles called time. “Midway through the third quarter, we just caught fire,” said Miles.
Nordsieck made that rarest of modern shots, the pull-up jumper. Mauldin blocked two shots on one play before drawing his third personal foul. And Wood River’s extended 1-3-1 zone defense with long-armed Carter at the top of the zone started creating havoc.
Carter (5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocked shots) blocked two shots. Hayes, back on the floor with three personals, threw caution to the wind and drove twice into the heart of Buhl’s defense cutting the Tribe lead to 26-24 at the break.
The 12-0 rally finalized early in the fourth quarter when Nordsieck made two more driving baskets before Buhl’s Hayden Eckert broke the spell with a 3-pointer that restored Buhl’s lead for good at 29-28. That’s when the fouls started piling up and the Tribe went to the line. Fully four minutes remained and Wood River was already in the 10-foul, two-shot bonus.
Carter’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds left cut Buhl’s lead to 41-38 before charities sealed it. Topping Buhl were Kasey Crossland (10 points), Jacob DeKruyf (11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) and Thyce Vandenburg (11 points, 10 boards).
Other Wood River contributors were Bates (5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals), Jose Hernandez (5 points, 2 boards, 2 steals), Hayes (4 points, 3 steals), Mauldin (2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) and Scott (2 points, 2 steals).
Wood River (3-4) started a 19-day holiday break that picks up again Tuesday, Jan. 8 with a home Great Basin Conference game against Jerome’s Tigers.
During the halftime ceremony honoring Trenkle, his friend and former Blaine School Superintendent of Schools Phil Homer said, “Over the years Fred lost some games. But if he got beat it was usually because the other coach had superior talent. Fred Trenkle was never out-coached. Thanks for being a Wolverine.”
After starting his coaching career in Hailey, Trenkle became a record-setting and Hall of Fame men’s coach at College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. In 10 CSI seasons from 1984-93 Trenkle compiled a remarkable 329-36 record including a national championship 25 years ago in 1987. His teams set a national record of 137 home wins from 1984-92.
Gooding nips girls 41-34
While free throws by the opposing team proved to be the undoing of the Wood River boys Thursday night against Buhl, the Wolverine girls had their own problems with free throws Thursday—their own.
Dropping its sixth straight game, Wood River (1-11) shot 8-for-24 from the free throw line in a 41-34 non-conference loss at Gooding (5-8). The closely-contested game was tied 21-21 at halftime, but Gooding outscored Hailey 11-2 in the third.
Wood River did a better job with minimizing turnovers, assistant coach J.C. Nemecek said. Senior Sydney Tidwell (12 points, 12 reboiunds, 1 assist, 1 steal) led the Wolverines.
Other contributors were Ciceley Peavey (7 points, 2 boards, 2 steals, 1 assist), Rory Cole (5 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal), Giselle Andrade (3 points, 2 boards), Hannah Belloli (2 points, 2 rebounds) and Sammy Sutton (3 points, 2 boards, 1 steal). Three Gooding players scored seven each.
Wood River (0-5 league) entered a 20-day break from action before traveling to Jerome (6-5, 2-2) Wednesday, Jan. 9. The Tigers lost 59-46 at home to Twin Falls (5-3, 4-0) on Dec. 18.
Unbeaten Valley holds off Carey 59-54
It was an uphill battle that fell short for the Carey School boys’ basketball team in its final pre-holiday game Friday.
Unbeaten Valley of Hazelton (8-0), the top-ranked Idaho 2A boys’ team at the Christmas break, outscored host Carey 34-20 in the middle periods and posted a 59-54 non-conference win on the Panther hardwoods.
Carey (4-4) rallied from a 14-point deficit at the end of the third quarter with 20 points in the final eight minutes. Indeed, coach Dick Simpson’s 1A Division 2 Panthers have out-pointed foes 123-89 in the final periods of the last seven games.
But the two-game Panther winning streak came to an end as Valley outscored Carey 13-4 at the free throw line. Still Carey put up the highest point total yet against a stingy Valley defense that averages 38.9 ppg.
Leading Carey’s offense (53.9 ppg) was sophomore Nate Adamson (15.8 ppg). His 22 points included three 3-pointers. Senior Jordan Dilworth (9 points) pitched in, and senior Poncho Gamino added 8 points before leaving with a knee injury.
Others were Gunner Thompson (6 points), Sheldon Hansen (5 points), Patrick Baird (2 points) and Matt Whitworth (2 points). Carey resumes Friday, Jan. 4 at home against Butte County of Arco.