FIRTH – It is that time of year once again, the start of another sports season and with it, the first of our previews for a team and a sport.

We will kick off our previews with Firth girls’ basketball.

By the time this preview is printed, the Lady Cougars will already have played in two games and hopefully some of what is said here will have played out on the court as well.

Firth is going to be going through a major overhaul and rebuilding effort this year after a year in which they lost their best big players and a point guard that is a very good all-around player and can play just about any sport there is, from volleyball to basketball to softball and was a first team all-conference player at all three sports.

As far as big players go, Kiley Mecham will be gone and the athletic miss was conference player of the year in volleyball, first team in basketball and a multiple time state champion as a member of the 4x400 meter relay in track.

The Lady Cougars definitely have lost some athletes from a year ago.

To say that this year’s team will be young may be an understatement of epic proportions.

To start the season, the Lady Cougars will have a varsity roster of four sophomores, two juniors and a single senior. Of those seven, two have some varsity experience as freshmen in Bridget Leslie and Daytona Folkman and both definitely belong on the varsity and will be the primary ball handlers and in the case of Folkman a primary outside threat on the team.

The biggest question concerning the team from the outset will be the inside play, where sophomores Macie Mecham and Piper Clayson will be counted on to rebound and score when given the opportunity.

Junior Kirdy Jolley will also be a starter and she had several nice games as a junior varsity player a year ago so she must make the transition to the speed of the varsity game and so very quickly. She has shown she can score, but it came against junior varsity players and she must make that transition.

Junior Rylee Nielson looks like a basketball player, but sometimes the game gets away from her and she has some mental lapses in certain situations. She will need to speed things up as the varsity game is much faster than what she is used to.

If the outside shooting is consistent and the team can learn to fast break, it will translate into some wins on the season which will be important. If they can’t, they will need to maximize their opportunities in the half court game and play stellar defense.

This team will have speed and quickness, so the toughness will play a big factor for the Lady Cougars.

I am sure that games against West Jefferson, North Fremont and the like will be tough as will non-conference games against Aberdeen and West Side.

Major games against Melba and Fruitland on back-to-back nights will also test the young Lady Cougars and if they can pass those tests, they may just surprise a lot of people.

You can count on the Lady Cougars to be well coached, but a limited bench of only seven players will test them in the long run this season.

They will be good enough to win the conference by year’s end, but will they be tough enough and can they learn to rebound along the way will be the major questions the team will have to answer.

The guess here is that anything over .500 will be accepted and if they can translate those early season lessons into wins late in the season, you might just see the Lady Cougars in Boise for the Big Dance come February.

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