BINGHAM COUNTY – The boys are back and they're going to get in trouble…or at least will be trying to push for the tops of each of their respective divisions. Now that the holiday cheer has been had and the stockings are once again void of cheer, the hardwood heroes jump back on the court with aspirations of championships.
Not much can be said about the Tigers and their record as they are 2-6 on the season but that doesn't define them as a team. The Tigers have had some tough losses so far on the year, but they do not amount to much in the grand scheme of things. Aberdeen has not played a single conference game this season; in fact, not a single conference game has been played in the 2A South East Idaho division meaning that a clear-cut leader is yet to be established. Currently, with an impressive start to the season, Bear Lake leads the division by a small margin with a 6-2 record, just half of a game ahead of 5-2 West Side. The Tigers will need to put the first eight games behind them and focus on those ahead; if they can manage to do so, rising to the top of their division is not only possible, but could become a reality.
The Big Green makes their post-holiday debut on Friday and will be looking for revenge against the Highland Rams after losing the second game of the season to them with a score of 62-60. Blackfoot has had a series of close games–on both sides of the game–where the game came down to the wire and a rematch between the Rams and Broncos will be another one of them. The Broncos have themselves in the sweet spot in the division only behind Bonneville because of their 3-3 record where Bonneville has 4-4 record. Sitting quietly in third in conference is Idaho Falls who has the best win percentage of any team in their division of 80-percent, but has only played on conference game. It will be key for the Broncos to win against Bonneville and Idaho Falls if they wish to make trip to the state stage.
The Broncos have a strong starting line up with Jett Shelley, Reece Robinson, Jayden Wistisen, Brayden Wright, and Melvin Arroyo. Besides the starters, the Broncos also bring great depth off of the bench. Carter Layton, Craig Young, Jaxon Ball, and Isaiah Thomas have stepped up coming in off of the bench, and provide the Broncos the opportunity to not have to rely on a few shooters because each of them are a shooting threat.
Coach Scott Adams and the Firth Cougars will be back on the hardwood on Tuesday. They will be facing one of the most difficult opponents on the season with a road game against Sugar-Salem. Inn their previous pairing, the Cougars fought hard but could not match the height and tenacity of the Diggers. Let alone it's hard for any team to keep pace with a team that drained nine three-pointers in the first half. Defense will be a deciding factor in this midseason rematch. Firth currently sits in the middle of the 2A Nuclear division pack with North Fremont on top with a 5-0 record on the season. However, just like the 2A South East Idaho division, conference games have not been played yet leaving the it ripe for the picking. The Cougars go into the 2020 year with a 3-4 record and a power ranking of 10.2.
The Russets are in prime position to be a sleeper in their division but will need to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Being the only team that has not played at least one conference game in the 4A High Country division, they will need to make their next two games count–first against Hillcrest and followed by Blackfoot. Both opponents will be huge hurdles for the Russets to clear, but if they cannot snap this six-game slide, they will find themselves fighting with Skyline for the lower end of the conference. Taking nothing away from the ability of the team, they have faced some tough opponents on the season facing 5A Thunder Ridge twice already as well as the Preston Indians. These four games are really a tale tell sign of how the team operates, moving the ball inside the key to try for closer shots and otherwise not connecting on the three-pointers like they need, leaving their opponents primed to use their shooting capabilities to stretch the lead to insurmountable.
The Chiefs are riding the middle of the division but are two games back from the leader, Rockland, who continues to fend off any opponent who wishes to threaten their conference lead. The 1AD2 Rocky Mountain conference is a full one with eight teams jockeying for the coveted invited to state. With a 1-2 conference record and a 2-5 overall record, the Chiefs will need to hit their stride and stop allowing their opponents to run away with the game. Being exactly halfway through their season poses quite a feat for them to overcome.
SNAKE RIVER BOYS
The Panthers are sitting pretty atop the 3A South East Idaho division with a modest 4-3 record on the year, but both other teams in their conference are struggling to win any game. Marsh Valley sits at 1-6 while American Falls continues to chase their first with with an 0-8 record. The Panthers have had some close games this season, even fighting back within striking distance against the Sugar-Salem Diggers who originally had a lead of more than 20 points. These rallies, although they have not been successful yet, will prove to be a strong element to the Panthers as they push for the post season. Snake River will not play a single conference game until the last week of January when they will play back-to-back games against American Falls. The Panthers will conclude their regular season by traveling to Sugar-Salem with plans of closing the season with redemption.