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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of December 3 - 9, 2003


Wood River High School boys’ basketball coach Fred Trenkle poses with four of his seniors before practice last Tuesday in Hailey. From left, Matt Pruett, Jason Hofman, Trenkle, Jeremy Selcho and Riley Neff. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Familiar coach
hopes to restore
Wood River’s respect

Boys’ basketball is back, in a new gym

Express Staff Writer

A commanding presence on the basketball court, first-year Wood River High boys’ basketball coach Fred Trenkle officially started getting the attention of his Wolverine players when practices started Nov. 14.

Since then, "we’ve been doing a whole lot of teaching," said Trenkle, in his second stint coaching at Wood River after an eight-year stay at the Hailey helm from 1972-80.

Tonight, Wood River’s 20-game regular-season slate opens at Mountain Home.

Then the early-season Wolverine road tour continues on to Jerome Friday before the varsity debuts in its new gym Saturday, Dec. 13 against reigning State 3A champion Declo.

Wood River will have an uphill battle in restoring respect to a program that hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since 1992. The Wolverines (3-19 last winter) were 15-74 in four years under former coach Jeff Larson—and they lost 16 of their final 17 games last winter.

Trenkle intends to make losing streaks, fourth-quarter letdowns and end-of-season meltdowns a thing of the past at Wood River High School.

"We have 11 guys working hard now. We have a chance to be good at the end of the season," he said.

"I’ve watched for the last few years and seen teams like Declo come up here into our gym and push us around. This year, they are not going to do that. They won’t out-physical us."

About his new varsity team, Trenkle said, "We’re getting them aggressive. I want them getting after somebody."

Trenkle has eight seniors on the 11-player varsity, and three juniors, and a toughened schedule centering on the program’s final year in the 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference. Wood River moves up a level to 4A next year.

Leading the way are 6-7 senior Jason Hofman (7.7 ppg last year) and 6-2 senior Riley Neff (4.3 ppg).

Other seniors are 6-3 Jeremy Selcho, 6-4 Kory Ott, 6-2 Scott Bohrer, 6-1 Matt Pruett, 6-1 Brian Ward and 5-10 Joe Paisley. The juniors are 5-10 Brady Femling, 5-8 Dylan Fullmer and 5-8 Jonathan Dittmer.

Height is a positive asset for the squad, Trenkle said.

"We have at least three decent-sized kids and Hofman can be very good. Our big problem is shooting. We have no pure shooters and our ball handling and passing are questionable. We have to figure out ways to score," the coach said.

Saturday’s three-team jamboree in Gooding highlighted Wood River’s problem area. The Wolverines lost two closely-played halves to Gooding and The Community School of Sun Valley.

Trenkle said, "We played hard. We played okay, and we pounded the hell out of the boards. But we couldn’t shoot the ball.

"We shot something like 2-for-32 from the outside, and missed 14 lay-ups. We were more aggressive when we played Gooding, but we shot 3-for-6 free throws, and they shot 21-for-27. And against Ketchum, we shot 8-for-20 free throws, and they shot 14-18."

Defensively, Wood River has shown promise, the coach said. Trenkle said, "The defense is probably twice as far along at this point, as a team, than it’s been here in a lot of years.

"We’ll play man-to-man, if we can handle people. We’ll work on our box-and-one. Will we have pressure? Oh, yeah. Yeah. We’ll work hard to get a lot more of their possessions—take the ball away from them—while we’re trying hard to cut down on our own turnovers."

Offensively, Wood River has been averaging in the mid-40s over the last four years, while yielding points in the upper 50s. Trenkle’s best Wood River team, the state runner-up squad of 1974, also scored in the mid-40s, but they would hold the other team to 42 and win.

"Will we play under control? Yes," said Trenkle, answering his own question.

"Whether we can handle the pressure is another question," he said. "We’ve been trying to break a lot of bad habits. We’ll just have to play through our mistakes, get through the pressure defense and push the ball down the floor.

"If we can’t get the ball in (close to the basket), we’ll take some time off and look for the high percentage shot.

"The general theory in basketball is the less talent you have, the shorter game you play. I’m not saying we’re going to play a shorter game, but we will have to grind the doggone ball.

"High post, low post, I’ve run that kind of offense everywhere I’ve gone. Most high school guys are used to guarding one guy in one place on defense. We’ll move our players around and find some openings."

Trenkle’s strength as a coach, besides his preparation skills, has always been his ability to adjust during the game.

He is one of the best bench coaches Idaho has ever seen.

"The players will have to do changing up on the fly during the game, and that will be different for them," Trenkle said. "Another thing—they already know I am the one who gets the technical fouls, not them."

Basically, it’s defense and discipline and hopefully a little scoring at the right time for a Trenkle team. "I’ll put five guys who should know something together," he said.

"If we can make our free throws and lay-ins, we have a chance to win."

On the 13-player Wolverine junior varsity coached by John Radford are Spencer Flade, Jesse Stark, Craig Werley, Cooper McCroskey, Morgan Uhrig, Derek Abbott, Kyle Lubeck, Ted Dankanyin, Reno Christino, Josh Van Dyke, Jess Matey, Casey Lane and Tyler Thiede.

Coach Craig Eastop’s ninth-grade team features Bryce Reese, Cory Rutkowski, David Sibrian, Sigi Paredes, Kenny Cardona, Andres Hernandez, Cody Linderman, David Pinkard, Danny Sibrian, Raul Villaneuva, Corbin Miniard, Travis Beckman, Carter Stuart and Grayson Thompson.



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