As area girls basketball teams make their arrangements for the state tournament this week, boys district tournaments get underway with coveted state berths on the line.
The smaller 1A schools have already started their district competitions, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be excluded from the Top-5 things to watch for in the coming weeks as the area’s top boys team try to punch their ticket to state.
1. Making history. Idaho Falls did it last year, claiming the 4A state title with a versatile team that refused to lose late in the season. By the time last year’s district tournament rolled around, it was clear the Tigers were on a roll and didn’t flinch under the postseason pressure. Who’s the team to make a run at history this season?
2. Keeping the history theme going, North Fremont was overshadowed by a solid Ririe team last year, and lost to the Bulldogs in the district tournament final. Coach Shannon Hill said afterward that he felt his team could compete with anyone at the state level. They did just that, overcoming the disappointment of the district loss to win the program’s first state championship.
3. Can Mackay shoot its way to a district title? The Miners have consistently scored 70 and 80 points per game and have won 11 straight games, including their 1AD2 District 5-6 tournament opener 99-35 over Clark County.
4. Perhaps the most interesting story of the year is Watersprings and its Fab 5 lineup. The Warriors have played the season with just five players, none of whom are seniors, and have already advanced to the 1AD2 District 5-6 tournament semifinals. They’ll play Thursday against No. 2 North Gem.
5. Upset alert? Despite a lineup loaded with sophomores, Hillcrest finished 5-5 in 4A District 6 and kept games relatively close against Idaho Falls and Blackfoot and was competitive against area 5A teams. Some might not call it an upset, but watch for Madison to again challenge rival Rigby in the 5A tournament. If ever two teams seemed destined to meet for a title, it’s the Trojans and Bobcats and the if-necessary game may come into play.