Three weeks into the high school basketball season (a shade more than one for those in Washington) and the schedule already looks like a muddled mess.
But there are some teams in particular that have loaded their seasons forward in order to better prepare their teams for the road ahead in the league and the district and state tournaments, but to better capitalize on the depth, the talent. and the experience they have.
Take, for example, the Orofino women’s basketball team. After a 9-8 campaign in 2020-21 and a 1-3 run in the 2A Central Idaho League class. In order to keep pace with the Joneses in the league, also known as Grangeville – who placed fourth in the State Tournament a season ago – Maniacs coach Tessa Mullinix actually adjusted his schedule. , with the help of athletic director Kathleen Tetwiler, to get a lot of games under their belt early on.
The experience has been beneficial so far, despite a 3-6 record.
“It’s to better prepare us to take us to the next level,” said Mullinix. “But I really think it’s not all in my control. But the games make us better, show us what we need to work on and get better.”
An early season game against McCall-Donnelly, a Class 3A participant, who had a two-game swing in the area while also playing Grangeville, clearly helped, and it benefited the team as well. because they played a close game against the Vandals. . Orofino fell 41-35 on November 20 to McCall-Donnelly, then faced reigning Class 3A champion Timberlake of Spirit Lake on Saturday, losing only by 17.
So, when it comes to the league season, when the Maniacs have to face the Bulldogs – who also competed in the Class 2A tournament a season ago as the CIL champion – on January 13 and February 1, Orofino is better off. prepared to face the pressures that come with playing for the league title.
Mullinix said she liked the mix of games she had, but wanted to make sure the Maniacs got their full allowance for the season.
“I think there is a mix,” Mullinix said. “Due to the pandemic, we wanted to make sure we hit the maximum number of games. My philosophy is to continue to engage in competitive nature.
Then there is the case of the Troy women’s team. After finishing 6-13 a year ago and 4-10 in Division I of the Whitepine League, coach Aaron Dail knew he was going to have a good number of returning players.
So he and athletic director Morgan LeBlanc decided to set an ambitious schedule. The Trojans have played nine games since the season opener on Nov. 12, a 41-32 loss to Deary, which they contested twice despite the Mustangs being in League Division II. Whitepine.
Troy had a few challenges along the way, playing an improved potlatch team, as well as a perennial Class 1A Division I state contender in Prairie. The Trojans have also scheduled Class 2A St. Maries twice, and for that they are 5-4 in the first 27 days of the season, including a 2-3 fifth-place mark in the WPL. DI.
We have a lot of girls where we’ve been down in numbers, and these girls have a lot of college experience, ”Dail said. “I liked it and the girls liked it. Now, we can just sit down and clean up some things. “
That’s because the Trojans only play four more times the rest of the month and then go full blast into the regular season.
But the initial calendar load wasn’t done on purpose, Dail said.
“I think it was more of a fluke,” he said. “I like our schedule where we have had a couple of nights in a row and get us ready for a possible state race.”
With six returning winners and sitting in a decent position so far early in league play, Troy is in a pretty good position.
Plus, Dail’s band would play every day if they could.
“We have a lot of kids who if we played 30 games this year our kids would be happy,” Dail said.
Three other teams in the region have played more than five games so early: Potlatch is 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the WPL DI, and Clearwater Valley is also 4-2 overall but 1- 2 in the WPL DI. Nezperce’s daughters are 5-2 overall and 2-0 in WPL DII.
Another update has been made to the Avista Vacation Tournament, which takes place December 28-30 at the Lewis-Clark State Activity Center.
The boys and girls games, which were posted earlier this week, have some schedule changes for the Tuesday games.
The boys’ schedule has Lewiston playing Grangeville at 10:30 am, followed by Moscow against an opponent TBD at noon. Lapwai takes on Kellogg at 4:30 p.m. and Clarkston takes on Tacoma Annie Wright in the final game of the day at 7:30 p.m.
On the girls’ side, Lewiston will face Grangeville at 9 a.m., Richland (Wash.) Will face Moscow at 1:30 p.m., Lapwai will play Soda Springs at 3 p.m. and Clarkston will face Post Falls at 6 p.m.
Winter sports capsules 2021-22
Coach – Kyle Palmer (first year)
Last year’s record – 0-6 overall and in the league
Return Letter Winners – Izzy Bailey, Sr., Guard; Kayle Paine, sr., Front; Haylee Appleford, jr., Front; Carlie Ball, jr., Front; Lily Denham, jr., Guard; Emily Elskamp, jr., Front; Emmalyn Barnea, jr., Front; Sadie Thummel, jr., Guard; Sophia Carrasco, jr., Babysitter.
Outlook – With two seniors and seven juniors among his returning university laureates, Asotin has experience. However, Palmer, in his freshman year, is entering the season in what he calls “the toughest 2B league in the state.”
“There is a lot of versatility with players who can play in multiple positions,” said Palmer.
Coach – Jordan Holmes (first year)
Last year’s record – 2-4 overall, 2-3 in the league
Return Letter Winners – Asher Cai, Sr., Guard; Hannah Baerlocher, sr., Guard; Harper Booth, jr., Guard; Hailey Demler, soph., Ext .; Jaisha Gibb, jr., Guard; Lauryn York, soph., Ext.
Outlook – Holmes, in her debut season, enjoys the size and athleticism her daughters will bring to the pitch this season.
Coach – Ron Ireland (ninth year)
Last year’s record – 20-6 overall, 10-0 in the league
Return Letter Winners – Erin Morgan, Sr., ext .; Hannah Tweit, sr., Guard; Drew Stacey, sr., Attacker; Rose Stewart, jr., Wing; Hailey Taylor, soph., Guard; Harley Heimgartner, soph., Guard; Ruby Stewart, soph., Wing; Taylor Boyer, soph., Ext .; Morgan Silflow, soph., Ext .; Natalie Kimbley, soph., Ext .; Rachel Olson, soph., Wing; Starlit Flint, jr., Front; Sydney Cowley, sr., Forward.
Outlook – Ireland believe transition play and size will be the strengths of the squad, while keeping the players healthy is always a concern.
Coach – Patty Weeks (Grade 10)
Last year’s record – 6-10 overall, 4-6 in the league
Return Letter Winners – Owen Case, Sr., Guard; Ty Hambly, jr., Guard; Wyatt Webb, jr., Ext .; Gage Crow, soph. To keep; Ty Goeckner, soph., Ext .; Noah Watson, soph., Guard.
Outlook – Weeks has a fair amount of comeback experience this season. With that, the Nighthawks have spent a lot of time in the weight room and matured and grown physically, which she believes will lead to success on the boards. But after losing four starters for the 2020-21 squad, Weeks believes it will take a bit of time to find some rhythm.