Rigby, coming off its first 5A state title in football, returns the core of its basketball team and might be ready to make another postseason run in the winter.
Several football players, including Tanoa Togiai, Keegan Thompson and Brycen Uffens have taken to the hardwood.
Sugar-Salem has already experienced the football-basketball state championship experience and expects to make another charge in 3A this season.
“You can’t come out of the woodwork,” coach Shawn Freeman said of trying to repeat as state champion. “People know you have some good kids and your program’s doing well … You feel some pressure, but it’s a good pressure, and hopefully you can go out and defend your title.”
Bobcats hoping to gain experience
Madison reached last season’s 5A state championship game with a talented group of seniors.
Gone are the Bobcats’ five starters and top six scorers.
“The word I would use is inexperience,” coach Travis Schwab said. “Fortunately, we’ll be able to get a few games under our belt before we start the conference season.”
The Bobcats already got one tough game under their collective belts on Friday when they played a rematch of last season’s state title game against Borah. The Lions won the game 59-43.
Lacking size, Bees look to go up-tempo
Although more known for his pitching prowess, Bonneville’s Randon Hostert was a presence in the post for the Bees last season.
Hostert, at 6-foot-6, averaged nearly 14 points and eight rebounds last season and was a nuisance to opponents on the defensive end.
“We don’t have Randon back there to protect the basket like we did last year,” coach John Tucker said. “Our tallest kids are 6-2, 6-3, and that makes quite a different approach … We’re going to have play more up-tempo for sure.”
Bonneville returns Jordan Perez and Carson Johnson, who both started at guard, and returns players who came off the bench last season in Cy Gummow, Devin McDonald and Kellan Bird.
Hillcrest sophomores in the spotlight
After graduating 10 seniors, the Knights might have to rely on their sophomores this season.
“We got a lot of kids that played on JV that we will expect to step up,” coach Dave Austin said.
Tre Kofe, Jase Austin, Garrett Phippen and Cooper Kesler all played JV last season but could see plenty of minutes on varsity this year.
“We’re inexperienced, but as the season goes along we feel we’ll be pretty good.”
Sophomore jinx for the coach?
Shannon Hill won a 2A state title last season in his first year as North Fremont head coach.
That’s a tough act to follow.
“Hopefully I didn’t set the bar too high in my first year,” Hill said with a laugh.
That elusive state championship is always the objective, but there’s an added goal this season.
“We really have our sights set on winning our conference,” Hill said. “We’ve never done that outright.”
With perennial power Ririe rebuilding, the Nuclear Conference should be entertaining.