Posted On: 02/7/18 5:54 PM
As the regular season puts a bow on play, there have been a number of teams that have made red hod strides toward the finish line backed by tremendous play from some of the very best prospects in the state.
Ending the season on a high can certainly carry over into district play for those who will be competing and we all know how important rhythm is for players, also a positive for any team to have their very best playing at a top level closing out the regular season. Taking a look from 5A-1A Division II, you can find teams with players who are blazing the nets while stockpiling the wins. We at PHID want to highlight those performances to point out who’s playing perhaps their very best basketball during the most intense part of the season. Below is our red hot list of teams and the players who are helping them get the job done.
Recently ranked as the top team in 5A by the media to close out the regular season rankings, The Boise Braves has been cruising as of late. While they have been noted for their defensive play (currently 2nd overall in points allowed in 5A SIC), the Braves courtesy of Paul Pennington (15.8 ppg), Cole Alton (14.9 ppg), and Lucas Centeno (12.1 ppg) have the top points per game total in all of 5A SIC with 66.0 points per game.
Entering Thursday night’s regular season finale with Mountain View, The Braves have won 12 straight since they last lost to Meridian in mid December, their only defeat on the season. This group looks like a well oiled machine at the moment.
Well look who seems to be finding their stride at just the right time, the reigning 5A state champs, Rocky Mountain. Fresh off an impressive win at home to avenge their loss to Borah from earlier in the season. The Grizzlies have won 9 straight and finish their season off against Eagle, a team they beat 61-31 last time the two played. Tyler O’Donnell has looked great during this recent stretch and led all scorers in their win against Borah going for 25 points. The Ranstorm brothers, Hunter Ranstorm and Briggs Ranstorm have also been playing well and each has contributed in a positive fashion during the stretch run.
Ideal timing for be playing ideal basketball, look for this team come district and state tournament time.
The Trojans do have a tough test to round out regular season play as they meet Lake City this Friday night to close out the 2017-2018 regular season. Last time those two teams played, it was Post Falls barely holding on to go on to win 48-47. However, during their latest 9 game win streak which began after a loss to Mt. Spokane right after the first of the new year, Jake Pfennigs and Tanner McCliment-Call have led the charge proving that the duo can often times be too much to handle. Pfennigs continues to use his excellent long frame to snatch rebounds and score in various ways while McCliment-Call can turn on his shooting switch at any given notice.
The result has been an impressive run to close out the season and excellent momentum to which to gain from for both players and their respective team.
With two more games remaining including one tonight against Skyline, the Indians led by their fantastic duo in Brayden Parker and Derek Wadsworth continue to force us to spill out ink on this team. The only undefeated team in the state, this team has simply been rolling. Both Parker and Wadsworth were impressive in their last outing against Pocatello as they won 63-42 with Parker going for 14 points and Wadsworth ending with 25 points.
Preston has had a couple games all season where they won by only single digits, otherwise they have been straight romps including their last 9 games in a row. They have not shown any weaknesses so far, and behind Parker and Wadsworth a three peat at the 4A level seems likely.
With four wins in a row and their latest perhaps the biggest on the season, Twin Falls might be pointed in the right direction with two games remaining on the docket. Their latest win was over a very tough Burley team as both Mitchell Brizee and Faust Ystueta led the charge. The two players have been in the mix all season for the Bruins and against Burley the big man Brizee finished with 13 points while Ystueta added 10 points. We will see if this group can keep it going, but certainly look to be hot at the right moment.
With three games remaining, the finish line is not quite in sight yet for the Knights, but star guard Max Rice is doing everything in his power to help this team find wins late in the season. Currently second in total points per game for 4A SIC (63.7), Bishop Kelly has rattled off 6 straight wins led by their do-it-all guard in Max Rice. Rice, who is committed to play for Boise State, has been on a tear lately and is scoring every way manageable. As long as the Knights can find Rice early and often while getting solid contributions from their role players, the wins will likely keep coming. Stay tuned on this group.
Riding a 7 game win streak entering tonight, the Grizzlies have looked great late. In particular Jake O’Neil has been one to shine for this team as they look to close out their remaining two games in style and with a couple more Ws. A matchup with Homedale, whom they handled pretty easy earlier in the season and then ending with Payette, a team they won by a narrow margin stands in their way from making it a 9 game win streak. O’Neil will need to keep up the hot hand, but we have no reason to believe that he and this group can’t keep it going.
A matchup with Aberdeen is left for Bear Lake, a team they handled well earlier this season, so a 10 game win streak to close out the regular season is very likely. Some of the reason for success for this group has been the play from Avery Carlsen, Hayden Peterson and Houston Peterson. The trio has been exciting and varied for head coach Brandon Carlsen, as they seem to get it done each and every contest, especially as of late. In terms of the 2A level, look for these Bears to continue their winning ways.
On a 6 game win streak, Ririe, led by stud Michael Ure has been hot as of late. Coming off a tough 2-point win over North Fremont last game, Ririe will look to close the regular season toinght against Firth. Currently, Ure is averaging a double-double with 19.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. The 6 foot 7 junior is one to watch for many and he continues to dominate for Ririe. This team will make the 2A race a fun one, and look to be in great position to make a run.
Lapwai closed out the regular season as one of the most dominant teams at any level in the state. A 17-3 record led by Emmitt Taylor III, a McDonald’s All-American nominee, the only boy in the state of Idaho to earn such recognition, the Wildcats look positioned to win the 1A state title this season. Taylor III is a flame thrower and will be tremendous to watch on the big stage. Big things ahead for this group.
A 13 game win streak will be put on the line when Dietrich faces Lighthouse Christian in their final regular season game of the year this Thursday. Their only loss to Declo was avenged in a wild one point win during this latest streak, and this group led by head coach Wayne Dill, father of their star player Slade Dill are ready to keep turning heads. Dill has received help in the scoring department from Kade Shaw, as the two have been playing fantastic ball and look incredibly difficult to stop.
At the 1A DII level, one can not ignore the success in which Genesis Prep, fresh off their state title victory from a season ago has enjoyed this season as well. The team finished the regular season with 12 straight wins led by high scoring and the exciting Jonny Hillman, one of the most dominating players in the entire state at the guard position as well as Kon Ajang, an intriguing athletic forward who caught our eye as the season winded down. We can’t wait to see these guys on the big stage soon, but what a ride it’s been for the Jaguars so far.