It’s always been tough for Wood River Middle School boys’ basketball teams to have successful seasons when they’re up against big-city Twin Falls squads like the “University of O’Leary” and “Stuart State.”
Those are coach Fred Trenkle’s tongue-in-cheek references to the O’Leary and Robert Stuart middle school teams from Twin Falls that normally dominate the Magic Valley Conference and Hailey seventh- and eighth-grade boys’ basketball squads.
But it’s been different this winter.
Middle school teacher Trenkle, who has head coached at WoodRiverHigh School, College of Southern Idaho and San DiegoState, has guided the seventh-grade boys’ team to an outstanding season in 2011.
The seventh-grade boys carried an 8-1 record into Wednesday’s road game against East Minico at Rupert and will entertain O’Leary Monday, Feb. 28 for the final home game of the season, starting at 5 p.m. in the Hailey gym. The season’s final game is Wednesday, March 2 at 5 p.m. against West Minico in the Paul gym.
Since losing to Burley in its second game of the season, WoodRiver had won seven consecutive games prior to Wednesday—including a 17-point revenge victory at Burley that snapped a 37-game Bobcat win streak.
Both Trenkle and longtime middle school athletic director Jim King said they couldn’t remember a Wolverine seventh-grade team that has enjoyed such success during a winter season.
“We get up and down the floor and have some skilled people,” said Trenkle. “A lot of these kids have been on travel teams with coaches John Hollenbeck and Roy Tinker and that has helped them come along.”
The roster features Jordan Bjorkman, Gunner Gibson, Wyatt Johnson, Mat Minford, Emmitt Stevens, Alec Nordsieck, Alex Venslauskas, Austin Shetler, Connor Morris, Mick Dawson, Nick Tidwell, Steven Cesar, Bennett Frayer, Tyson Spellman, Branson Atkinson, Lane Felger and Nelson Cantrell.
Unfortunately, cost constraints have caused the Magic Valley Conference to forego its season-ending tournaments this year, so the WoodRiver teams will have to be content with their excellent regular seasons.
Trenkle added that WoodRiver’s eighth-grade boys (4-5), coached by Andy Portillo and Jack Hegdahl, “have been in every game and have battled everybody close.”
The eighth-graders wrap up their home season Monday following the seventh-grade game, about 6:15 p.m.
On the eighth-grade squad are Logan Portillo, Kole Mauldin, Cody Carter, Parker Bingham, Evan Dahms, Sam Burns, Conner Hayes, Zac Swanson, Eduardo Regalado, Jon Scott, Taylor Douthit, Richard Ruiz, Santiago Gomez, Anders Fortuin and Alexis Gonzales.