With half its season done, the Wood River High School girls' basketball team is hoping to welcome back senior point guard Kaitana Martinez sometime in the next week or so.
Interim head coach Kevin Stilling said Tuesday last season's Great Basin Conference "Player of the Year" Martinez has been "going full-bore" in holiday practices, pretty much on her timetable in returning from summer knee surgery.
He said the coaching staff is not sure when Martinez will be inserted into game action for the first time in the 2011-12 season. But looking at the demanding Wolverine schedule in the next week, even a little bit of Martinez would be helpful.
Wood River is playing the Filer Wildcats, Jerome Tigers, Rigby Trojans and Twin Falls Bruins in an eight-day span beginning Tuesday, Jan. 3 with a visit to Filer (7-5). The 'Cats started the season with three losses to Burley, Jerome and Twin Falls and have won seven of their last nine starting with a 47-39 win in Hailey Nov. 17.
The Wolverines (4-5, 2-2), facing six GBC games in their final nine contests, host a powerful Jerome squad Thursday, Jan. 5 in what should be a "Pack the Gym" evening to generate fan interest in Hailey.
Jerome (10-1, 4-0 league) is the No. 2 ranked 4A team in Idaho, trailing only defending State 4A champ Middleton (12-0). Last Thursday, Jerome's nine-game winning streak ended with a 42-29 home loss to Middleton. Jerome bounced back Friday with a 55-33 home win over Mountain Home.
Another GBC contender, the Twin Falls Bruins (8-4, 3-1), lost by a single point 37-36 at home to Middleton Friday and also beat Mountain Home 42-40. Wood River visits Twin Falls Wednesday, Jan. 11, hoping to avenge a 34-30 home loss to the same Twin Falls squad Dec. 1.
Not only that, but one of eastern Idaho's best girls' teams—the Rigby Trojans (12-2)—visits Hailey Saturday, Jan. 7 for a 3:30 p.m. varsity matinee. Before Christmas, Wood River dropped road games at Minico 45-36 and to Rigby 51-30. Last winter, High Country Conference champion Rigby carried an unbeaten 22-0 into the State 4A tournament at Boise.
Other Great Basin teams still in the mix as the league season heats up are Minico (8-5, 2-2 league), Burley (4-7, 1-3) and Canyon Ridge (3-8, 0-4). Wood River hosts Canyon Ridge Jan. 13 and goes to Burley Jan. 17.
Carey girls to face Dietrich and Richfield
The top-ranked 1A Division 2 schools in girls' basketball all come from the Northside Conference, including last year's state championship game finalists Dietrich and Richfield. Dietrich (8-0, 3-0) is No. 1, Camas County (6-2, 3-2) No. 2 and Richfield (6-3, 3-1) No. 3.
Coach Lane Durtschi's Carey Panthers (4-2, 1-1) hope to spoil the party, and they'll have a chance in the next week.
The Panthers visit defending state champion Dietrich on Thursday, Jan. 5 and host Richfield on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Meanwhile, the Community School girls (0-4, 0-2) debuted the 2012 portion of their schedule for coach Erika Connelly Tuesday night with a home league game against Dietrich. The Cutthroats visit Camas County Thursday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. and host Carey Jan. 12.