SIC boys basketball preview: Borah seeks three-peat

Capital picked to upend Lions in 5A SIC play; Bishop Kelly favored to win 4A league title.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comDecember 3, 2013 

Senior point guard Isaiah Wright has helped Borah win two 5A state championships in a row. Wright has been a starter since he was a freshman, and his 6.9 assists per game last season rank second all-time in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference.

OTTO KITSINGER — Statesman file

  • SIC preseason coaches' polls

    5A

    1. Capital (4)

    2. Borah (3)

    3. Rocky Mountain (3)

    4. Boise

    5. Centennial

    6. Eagle

    7. Timberline

    8. Mountain View

    9. Meridian

    10. Vallivue

    4A

    1. Bishop Kelly (8)

    2. Middleton

    3. Skyview (1)

    4. Nampa

    5. Kuna

    6. Columbia

    7. Emmett

    8. Caldwell

    9. Mountain Home

    Note: First-place votes in parentheses.

5A Southern Idaho Conference

BOISE BRAVES

Coach: Jeff Ulrickson, fifth season

2012-13 record: 7-13, 5-13 5A SIC

Returning starters: Sam Simpson, senior, forward (13.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg); Alex Rant, senior, wing; Brian Smith, junior, point guard.

Team tidbit: Simpson was a 5A SIC first-team pick last season and should be a force alongside Smith and Rant, who missed the majority of last season with an injury. A strong offseason from seven returning lettermen could have Boise in the mix for a state berth for the first time since 1997.

BORAH LIONS

Coach: Cary Cada, 20th season

2012-13 record: 25-1, 17-1 5A SIC

Returning starters: Isaiah Wright, senior, guard (16 ppg, 7 apg, 5 rpg, 3 spg); Nick Reed, senior, guard.

Team tidbit: Wright, the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and Utah commit, aims to lead the Lions to a third consecutive state title, but it won’t be easy. Six lettermen are back, and Cada hopes several key newcomers — including Cole Skinner and Rylan Bergersen — can take some of the pressure off Wright.

CAPITAL EAGLES

Coach: Paul Rush, fourth season

2012-13 record: 16-10, 11-7 5A SIC

Returning starters: Hunter Young, senior, guard (14.1 ppg); Nick Dow, senior, forward; Derrick White, junior, point guard (10.4 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.0 spg); Garrett Pearson, senior, forward.

Team tidbit: The Eagles broke through last season for their first state tournament appearance since 2009, and return six lettermen with the firepower to advance again. Capital’s guard-centric offense will be fast and aggressive.

CENTENNIAL PATRIOTS

Coach: Tom Aipperspach, 27th season

2012-13 record: 12-12, 9-9 5A SIC

Returning starter: Hunter Dennis, senior, wing (12.3 ppg).

Team tidbit: There will be lots of new faces in the lineup for the Patriots, who return one starter and five lettermen. Aipperspach, the longest tenured coach in the conference, said his team has potential if it meshes quickly.

EAGLE MUSTANGS

Coach: Tom Seifert, ninth season

2012-13 record: 13-12, 9-9 5A SIC

Returning starters: Riley Leavitt, junior, point guard; Jacob Talbot, senior, forward.

Team tidbit: Seifert said this year’s squad doesn’t fear the 3-point line, but the Mustangs also need to establish their inside game, which took a hit with the graduation of big men Braiden Shaw and Jake Stevens. Inexperience at the varsity level will be the Mustangs’ weakness at the start of the season.

MERIDIAN WARRIORS

Coach: Mike Graefe, third season

2012-13 record: 1-19, 0-18 5A SIC

Returning starters: Bryson Stout, senior, forward (7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2 spg); Axel Mpoyo, junior, forward (6.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 1.5 bpg); Hunter Graefe, junior, guard (4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 spg).

Team tidbit: Stout, the reigning 100-meter track champion and starting quarterback, is an all-around athlete whose leadership will boost the Warriors. Mpoyo has potential for a breakout season, and an eager group of newcomers have a chance to help the Warriors make strides in the league win column this season.

MOUNTAIN VIEW MAVERICKS

Coach: Jon Nettleton, ninth season

2012-13 record: 19-7, 14-4 5A SIC

Returning starter: Kody Olson, senior, wing (6 ppg, 3 rpg).

Team tidbit: Only three lettermen — Olson, Ryan Ball and Carlton Egner — are back for the Mavericks, who have advanced to the state semifinals three years in a row. Despite their inexperience, Nettleton said his players are hard-working and love to compete.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN GRIZZLIES

Coach: Dane Roy, third season

2012-13 record: 21-5, 15-3 5A SIC

Returning starters: John Sherle, senior, point guard (11 ppg, 4 apg); E.J. Boyce, senior, wing (12 ppg).

Team tidbit: Boyce and Sherle make up perhaps the most formidable backcourt in the league, but the Grizzlies lost their impact bigs from last season. Four other lettermen — Logan Skurdal, Treighton Shepherd, Thaddaous Jones and Boise State football commit Kekoa Nawahine — will fill in some of those holes to give the Grizzlies a shot at competing for the league title.

TIMBERLINE WOLVES

Coach: Bruce Logsdon, first season

2012-13 record: 9-13, 7-11 5A SIC

Returning starters: Gibson Berryhill, junior, guard (7 ppg, 2 rpg); Andrew Briggs, senior, forward (2.4 ppg, 4 rpg).

Team tidbit: Logsdon coached the previous five seasons at Middleton, and before that served as a sophomore, junior varsity and varsity assistant for Timberline for 10 seasons. Four lettermen will ease Logsdon’s transition as he tries to establish a new era.

VALLIVUE FALCONS

Coach: Scott Moore, fourth season

2012-13 record: 4-16, 3-15 5A SIC

Returning starters: Brandon Navarro, senior, guard (12 ppg, 2.2 spg); Bryce Schroeder, junior, guard (8.8 ppg); Tanner Vogt, junior, guard (5.0 ppg).

Team tidbits: The tallest player on the roster is 6-foot-3, as former post Lane Sale transferred to Homedale. Moore said his players have a tremendous work ethic, which will help the Falcons improve on the foundation of teamwork they built in the offseason.

4A Southern Idaho Conference

BISHOP KELLY KNIGHTS

Coach: Larry Crump, 10th season

2012-13 record: 19-8, 13-3 4A SIC

Returning starters: Luke Meyers, senior, wing; Spencer King, senior, post.

Team tidbit: A large portion of Crump’s team wrapped up the football season Nov. 22 with a state title, so the early going for the basketball team may be slow. Six lettermen are back with good height, which should put the Knights in the mix for the league title.

CALDWELL COUGARS

Coach: Bob Peterson, first season

2012-13 record: 2-19, 2-14 4A SIC

Returning starters: Josh Grover, senior, guard/wing; Riley Langdan, senior, wing/post.

Team tidbit: Peterson hopes to re-establish a tradition of success at Caldwell, beginning with new offensive and defensive systems. Grover, Langdan and fellow letterman Dylan Doan will lead a group of newcomers eager to rally behind Peterson.

COLUMBIA WILDCATS

Coach: Reggie Guerrero, eighth season

2012-13 record: 12-11, 8-8 4A SIC

Returning starters: Mogga Lado, senior, post.

Team tidbit: The Wildcats are coming off their best season in school history, and Guerrero hopes this year’s team will be able to build on that finish. Senior guard Cody Frederiksen is the only other returning letterman for a Columbia team that will carry 11 on its roster.

EMMETT HUSKIES

Coach: Greg Daniels, first season

2012-13 record: 18-6, 13-3 4A SIC

Returning starters: Noah Williams, senior, guard (12 ppg, 5 apg); Frankie Resendiz, senior, guard (7 ppg, 6 rpg).

Team tidbit: The Huskies advanced to the state tournament last season for the first time since 2008. Six lettermen are back, but they will be learning new offensive and defensive systems and may need a few games to become consistent.

KUNA KAVEMEN

Coach: Brian Deatherage, second season

2012-13 record: 8-16, 8-13 4A SIC

Returning starters: Shawn Stanley, senior, guard (10 ppg, 3 apg); Jake Johnson, sophomore, guard (8 ppg, 5 rpg); Zac Rose, junior, guard (3 ppg, 3 apg).

Team tidbit: Kuna lost to Bishop Kelly in overtime for the league’s final spot at state last season, and the Kavemen return five players from that team. Deatherage wants his team to emphasize defense and rebounding.

MIDDLETON VIKINGS

Coach: Dale Karst, first season (eighth overall)

2012-13 record: 11-11, 9-7 4A SIC

Returning starter: Payton Ah You, senior, post.

Team tidbit: Karst previously coached the Vikings from 1997 to 2004, and takes over for Bruce Logsdon, who accepted the same position at Timberline. Ah You and junior point guard Joseph Valencia are the only returning lettermen.

MOUNTAIN HOME TIGERS

Coach: Brion Bethel, second season

2012-13 record: 0-20, 0-16 4A SIC

Returning starters: Christian Reidel, junior, guard/forward (9 ppg); Jose Rodriguez, senior, forward (5.7 rpg); Devin Wright, senior, forward.

Team tidbit: Bethel and the Tigers took their lumps last season, but the second-year coach believes success is on the horizon with five lettermen back. Strong participation in the offseason and improved team chemistry should help.

NAMPA BULLDOGS

Coach: Tim Dranginis, second season

2012-13 record: 9-13, 7-9 4A SIC

Returning starters: None.

Team tidbit: Seniors Tyler Hamlin (5 ppg, 3 rpg) and Jonathan Koenig (2 ppg, 2 rpg) and juniors Blaine Roberts (4 ppg, 3 rpg) and Ciro Gaona (3 ppg) each contributed minutes last season and will be expected to be leaders in 2013-14. Nampa’s freshmen and JV teams each won 14 games last season, and Dranginis hopes to translate that to the varsity level.

SKYVIEW HAWKS

Coach: Aaron Sanders, fifth season

2012-13 record: 23-3, 15-1 4A SIC

Returning starters: None.

Team tidbit: Seniors Austin Sharp and Brayden Marshall and junior Holton Hyde are the only returning lettermen from a team that won by an average of 38.7 points a game last season. Sanders said his incoming players are talented, but will need to quickly adapt to the varsity level.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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