FIRTH — The Firth Cougars are no stranger to success at the state tournament and don't expect this year to be any different.
Head coach Scott Adams and the Cougars have been one of the best teams in the 2A ranks all season long and are looking to rerun a boys basketball championship to Firth after a three year hiatus.
But take one look at this years 2A bracket and the Cougars will have major obstacle in their way, defending state champion Grangeville sits in the same half of the bracket as Firth. But Firth also comes into the state tournament winners of 13 of their last 14 games with only a season ending road loss to Salmon being the lone blemish. Prior to the loss at Salmon the Cougars had won 11 straight games.
Even with the defending state champ in their half of the bracket, Firth has to be one of the favorites to win it in 2014 for one simple reason; experience.
Firth sports a roster with just two players that are underclassmen and has just two seniors. But one of those seniors is the player that runs the offense for coach Adams.
Jordan Chapman is that player.
As one of just two seniors Chapman is the spark that makes the Cougars go. Not only can he run the point on offense, he can score and score in bunches if necessary.
Chapman is deadly from beyond the three point line and is fearless driving to the basket. For firth to advance in the tournament Chapman will need to continue his aggressive play.
Joining Chapman in the backcourt is junior Braydon Adams.
While opening the game as the point guard Adams is not going to fill up the score sheet with a lot of points, but what he will do is take care of the basketball, limiting turnovers and finding wide open teammates with some very accurate passes.
Benefiting from the passing of Adams and Chapman are a very talented group of post players.
Junior Dallan Bingham leads the talented group.
Bingham and sophomore Connor Burkhart are tall and physical a combination that gives many teams at the 2A level a lot of trouble as many teams do not have players over 6-foot 4.
Lucas Orme and Zak Johnson also play significant minutes for the Cougars and will need to produce when they hit the floor.
The key for the Cougars in this week's tournament is to start fast. in the second half of the season Firth had a tendency to start slow and often had to dig themselves out of a first quarter hole.
And with a high powered transition offense the Cougars did not have much resistance in getting a lead back on the way to blowing out opponents.
Blowouts won't be easy to get once the Cougars hit the floor on Thursday for the tournament opener against Melba.
The game tips off at 6:15 p.m. at Capital High School in Boise.