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Posted On: 03/9/18 8:07 AM
As we wrap up our look back series for the 2018 state basketball tournament, the 2020 class proved to be one that featured some of the best top young talent in the state and are already making a notable impact for their teams.
This class features three players in particular that will be special as they continue their journeys and all three showed up big at the state tournament after stellar regular season campaigns. There were also a few other notable performances and players to hit our radar that will be ones to watch for as they enter their junior seasons.
In terms of the 2020 class, here is who stood out most to us at the state tournament…
Fresh off a First Team All-5A SIC award, Borah’s Austin Bolt was magnificent all season long for the Lions as he led his team to a third place finish at the state tournament. Bolt was dominant yet again in a tough matchup against Post Falls that featured newly named Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year Jake Pfennigs, another skilled, long, tough rebounder. But Bolt went out and did his thing to the tune of 28 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. On the season Bolt averaged a double-double (12.1 points, 12.8 rebounds) and will only get better from here on out.
Bolt may be the most exciting prospect in the entire 5A SIC conference moving ahead as his game will become more well-rounded as well as being surrounded by talented players who will look to make some noise at the state tournament again next season. Borah features a young team along with Bolt while head coach Jeremy Dennis earned Coach of the Year honors in 5A SIC, look for Bolt to blossom even more so next season.
At Burley, Jace Whiting climbed and climbed our rankings all season long ultimately finishing in our top 3 ranked 2020 players. At the state tournament Whiting displayed his scoring abilities along with his steady leadership out on the court. Vision, and a nose for the ball were also two things that stood out to us as Whiting had an excellent showing in the Treasure Valley. In his game against Vallivue, Burley’s opening game at the tournament, Whiting went for 24 points against a team who defended guards well all season.
In his matchup against Century, another team with excellent guard play Whiting posted 17 points as his team got the win and a chance to play Preston in the final. In the end, Burley fell short of the state championship, but this group under the guidance of Whiting’s father Trent Whiting looks primed for another run at it next season. Just recently, Whiting was recognized for his solid play as he earned First Team All-Great Basin honors. Whiting ended the season with averages of 13.1 points, 2.7 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Up next for Whiting will be some Spring hoops with Exum Elite.
The reigning 5A back to back state champions boasted one of the state’s top 2020 prospects as well in Briggs Ranstorm, an excellent player with size that can do a little bit of everything out on the court. Ranstorm was a key member of this team that now will look to chase a three peat similar to what Preston did this past season at the 4A level. In his team’s passionate and fierce win against the all too familiar Borah Lions, it was Ranstorm who went for 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Ranstorm recently was selected as a Honorable Mention All-5A SIC. On the season, Ranstorm averaged 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks a contest. Look for Ranstorm to come back even more polished next season as a junior as this is certainly one of the most intriguing prospects in the state at any position.
Potential prospects from state tourney to watch for next season
While their teams were in it at the state tournament we found a few players who caught our eye for next season including Ambrose’s Paul Yenor, who will be asked to do more as senior standout Ethan Christianson will be gone. Yenor averaged 15.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.5 blocks last season, and will be a player to keep track of. Yenor also earned First Team All-1A DI SIC honors recently as well.
Rocky Mountain’s Cooper Frith will be another to focus more on next season as his role will likely expand with the team with a number of seniors moving on for the back-to-back champs. Also, staying in the SIC, but at the 4A level, look for Vallivue’s Mike Fitts to see more action as well in the backcourt. He could develop into more a scorer and leader out on the court and his team will look to make a deeper run than this past season at the state tournament.
Post Falls’ Colby Gennett was another who impressed us during the Trojans showing in the Treasure Valley that saw get to the third place game. Meanwhile, Century’s Carson Zink looks like a promising prospect at the forward position. One final player to add to our list of notables is Sugar-Salem’s Pasen Michaelson.