BINGHAM COUNTY – As the new year starts and the dawning of a new decade, teams around the county focus on rallying for the second half of the season. The holiday break allows teams the opportunity to recover from nagging injuries, tough schedules, and exhaustion; each of the teams will enter the second part of the season poised to perform.
The Lady Tigers have had a strong showing through the end of 2019, closing out the decade with a 9-4 overall record and 1-1 in conference play. Although carrying only four losses on the season, the South East Idaho Conference appears to be a strong one with Bear Lake leading the charge with an 8-4 overall record and 2-0 in conference play. Bear Lake boasts the lowest of the top three teams' power rankings with an 82.2 while Aberdeen rides at 94.6. Soda Springs sits in second with the best overall win percentage with a 9-2 record on the season but with only one game of conference play. The Soda Springs Cardinals have a power ranking of 111.2 and are ready to jump to the lead.
Aberdeen will face Soda Springs, West Side, and Bear Lake twice just in conference play. In fact, the only non-conference game that the Lady Tigers will play during the second half of the season will be against the Lady Cougars of Firth who edged them out in the season opener 43-42.
The Lady Broncos are scratching for the top spot in the 4A High Country Conference with only falling behind the Bonneville Bees. The Bees have been known for being a strong team remaining undefeated on the season with an 8-0 record while the Lady Broncos are 8-1, losing only to 5A Thunder Ridge. Since that lost in the first game of the season, the Broncos have been on a tirade winning eight straight heading into the holiday break. Over the holidays, the Lady Broncos would compete in the Timberline Tournament, that started on Thursday, January 2 before they return to regular season play which starts with a clash of the High Country titans. Blackfoot will bring the Bees into their domain where they will try to stomp out any doubts that they belong on the top of the division. Following the game with Bonneville, the Broncos will have the opportunity to get redemption against Thunder Ridge and prove once in for all who is the better of the two.
The Lady Cougars have been on the prowl since the season opener and find themselves sitting atop the 2A Nuclear Division with a modest 8-3 record overall and 2-0 in conference play. Although a younger squad, the Lady Cougars have some powerful players in Senior Hailey Gee and Junior Kiley Mecham. These two ladies are hard for teams to defend because of their height and ability to read their opponents. They will face conference rivals in six of their last nine games on the regular season playing Ririe and North Fremont twice in those remaining games. The Cougars have been ranked at 71.2 for power, but may be suffering from their opponents' weakness in power rankings bringing their overall ranking down.
The Lady Russets have had one tough season so far. They have not found their first win as of yet and have had a coaching staff change with Jessica Carlson taking the helm after their previous coach resigned creating the perfect storm for the Russets to come out of the gates in 2020 to rebound and find themselves with some wins to end the season. Although the state tournament may already be out of their reach, they can be the potential spoiler that teams dread.
The Lady Chiefs have found themselves in the trenches at the mid-point of the season, but not out of the running for winning the conference. They will need a strong showing in the 2020 part of the season if they want to step into the state dance. They are in second place in their conference, but only two games back from the lead (Rockland) who has played twice as many games as the Chiefs at this point in the season. The Chiefs remaining season is almost all conference games making each game matter that much more. Grabbing wins against Watersprings, Mackay, North Gem and Rockland are going to be key victories for the Lady Chiefs if they wish to make a run at the state tournament again this season.
SNAKE RIVER GIRLS
The Lady Panthers are on the outside looking in with their position in the conference at this point in the season. Bringing up the rear of the conference, the Panthers will have to make each of their four conference games count; They will need to sweep both Marsh Valley and American Falls if they want to have a chance to repeat last season's success. One thing remains certain; the Lady Panthers are not out of the race. Sitting at a less-than-stellar 4-7 overall record, the Lady Panthers are preparing for the second half to reverse their standings.