SHELLEY — The 2013-14 season did not go exactly as head coach Dave Hadley and the Shelley Russets had planned.
But despite the seasons ups and down the Russets are back at the state tournament looking to win the title the eluded them last season in the overtime loss to Snake River.
It also helped that the Russets played a non conference schedule that was one of the toughest in Eastern idaho all while trying to find players to replace the graduated McKay Cannon and Chad Leckington, two big pieces of last seasons success.
"Our season was full of ups and downs there is no doubt about that," Hadley said after the win over Bear Lake on the 3A state play-in game last week. "I was very proud of how the kids responded in a must win situation."
During the season six of the Russets 10 losses were to teams in the 4A and 5A classifications, but the team also swept the season series from Snake River for the second consecutive season.
But sweeping the defending state champ doesn't earn an automatic berth into the title game again this season.
It took a while for the Russets to finally click as a team as Dalton Nelson a key piece from last seasons team missed the first half of the season recovering from a broken collarbone suffered during football season. Once Nelson returned the Russets took off getting a big performance night after night.
Tyler Fredrickson runs the show for the Russets and leads the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds and four assists a game.
The Russets are deep at the guard spot as Dalton Nelson, Blaine Rumsey and Carter Cannon are all big parts of the Russets game plan night in and night out.
Keifer Higham and Taylor Lund man the front court spots and Jace Russell comes in off the bench to give the team some size in the post.
Shelley is no stranger to the state tournament missing it just twice in the last 11 years and those were in 2010 and 2011 when the Russets were in the 4A ranks.
Hadley knows what it takes to win a title, and this year is going to be tough because the Russets open the tournament with the 20-2 Homedale Trojans.
Homedale outscores its opponents by and average of 17.5 points per game so Shelley will have to score early and often if they hope to keep the game close.
Shelley and Homedale tip-off at 8 p.m. tonight at Meridian High School.