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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2004


Going to state, WR
boys ready for bear

Decent draw in opener against Grizzlies

Express Staff Writer

They aren’t used to being there, but Wood River High School boys’ basketball players nevertheless have lofty ambitions for this week’s visit to the eight-team State 3A tournament at Meridian High School.

Brady Femling drives to the hoop against Kimberly during the SCIC basketball tournament at CSI in Twin Falls. Express photo by David N. Seelig

"We’d like to get to Saturday’s championship game at The Idaho Center in Nampa," said first-year coach Fred Trenkle, who also guided Wolverine teams to two state tourney visits in 1974 and 1975.

For once, a Wood River team as a decent draw at a state tournament—after tough opening-round draws for the boys’ soccer team at last fall’s state soccer tournament and for the girls’ basketball team at the recent 3A meet.

Unranked Wood River (11-12), winner of eight of its last 10 games, will open the State 3A tournament against the #6-ranked Fruitland Grizzlies (13-5) at 8 p.m. Thursday. It’s Wood River’s first trip to state in 13 years, and only the eighth in school history.

Trenkle said, "It’s a good draw for us. We’re a little bigger than Fruitland and match up sizewise.

"Their point guard, a quick lefty named Eric Snavely, averages around 20 points and does most of their scoring. They have two bigger guys in Jeff Taylor, 6-3, 190, who is probably their second-best player, and Derrick Mahan, a 6-4, 245 blue-collar player.

"Fruitland plays a soft man or soft zone, but they don’t run on offense and don’t do a lot of pressing," said Trenkle, who said Third District king Fruitland beat Middleton 36-34 with a slowdown after losing twice to #2-ranked Middleton (22-2) during the regular season.

Fruitland won’t go away easily. After all, the Grizzlies finished third in last year’s state tournament, beating South Fremont 59-48 for third place. Snavely, Taylor and Mahan are seniors. But Fruitland has played a less challenging schedule that Wood River.

If Wood River beats Fruitland, the Wolverines face the prospect of meeting #2 Middleton in Friday’s 8 p.m. semi-final game. Coach Dale Karst’s Middleton Vikings and Sixth District champion Shelley (9-11) square off Thursday at 6:15 p.m.

There "would be a lot of story," in a match-up between Trenkle’s Wolverines and Karst’s Vikings, Trenkle said.

Bellevue native Karst scored 872 points for Wood River High from 1983-85 and played for Trenkle on the College of Southern Idaho’s national championship team in 1987. Recently, Karst announced his resignation as Middleton coach, after the season.

"So this is Dale’s last hurrah," said Trenkle, who added Karst has applied for the athletic director job at Middleton.

The other side of the State 3A bracket has most of the heavyweights, starting with the 1:15 p.m. match-up between top-ranked Preston (21-0) and #3 Declo (17-3). Those two teams played in last year’s state title game, Declo winning 70-46.

Preston, averaging 62.2 ppg, beat Snake River 51-34 for the Fifth District title Feb. 23. Declo is no slouch, having won the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference championship in a 77-51 blowout over Kimberly. The Hornets have boasted a 12-game winning streak this year.

In Thursday’s other state opener, #4-ranked Lakeland (13-7) meets #5-ranked Marsh Valley (16-6). Of the eight teams, only Declo, Preston and Fruitland return from the 2003 State 3A tournament.

Meanwhile, Wood River is still riding high from its come-from-behind 64-50 victory over Kimberly in last Wednesday’s SCIC tournament second-place game at Trenkle’s old stomping grounds, CSI in Twin Falls.

The scoring of Brady Femling (20 points), Matt Pruett (13) and Riley Neff (11) helped Wood River overcome an 11-point third-quarter deficit. Wood River outscored Kimberly 24-7 in the fourth and limited the Bulldogs to one field goal in the final period.

WR 64-50 over Kimberly: Brady Femling 20 points, Matt Pruett 13, Riley Neff 11, Jason Hofman 6, Jeremy Selcho 6, Joe Paisley 4, Kory Ott 2, Scott Bohrer 2. Rebounds (32)—Selcho 7, Neff 6, Hofman 6, Femling 5. Steals—Femling 2, Bohrer 2. Assists—Paisley 6, Femling 5. 3-pointers—Femling 5. FT—9-16. Opp FT—6-9.

WR season statistics (23 games): Offense—49.2 ppg (54.8 tourney). Defense—51.8 ppg (48.8 tourney). Free throws—WR 244-438 (56%) including 46-66 (70%) tourney. Opposition—196-322 (61%) including 32-52 (62%) tourney. Top season individual scorers—Jason Hofman 11.1 ppg, Jeremy Selcho 7.8 (10.0 tourney), Brady Femling 7.0 (12.5 tourney), Kory Ott 6.4, Scott Bohrer 5.2. 3-pointers (53)—Femling 22 (18 in last 10 games), Bohrer 13, Ward 12.


Workout today

The public is welcome to today’s final Wood River High School boys’ basketball practice, before the Wolverines depart for the State 3A tournament starting Thursday, March 4 at Meridian High School gym.

The one-hour workout will begin today at 3:30 p.m. at the new high school gym in Hailey. During the practice, "devoured by a moth," t-shirts priced at $10 will be sold to help finance the trip to the Treasure Valley.

"After the practice, we’ll head to Boise and see what we can get done," said Wood River coach Fred Trenkle.



A look at Wood River’s state tournament trips


Wood River High School in Hailey has made previous seven trips—for six coaches—to the state boys’ basketball tournament—in 1991, 1988, 1981, 1975, 1974, 1970 and 1969.

In their seven state trips Wood River teams have a combined 5-12 record. The past Wolverine editions went to state in 1991 (0-2 record), in 1988 (fourth place, 1-2 record), in 1981 (0-2), in 1975 (0-2), in 1974 (second place, 2-1), in 1970 (fourth place 1-2) and in 1969 (1-1). Wood River has never won a state basketball championship.

The school won Fourth District tournament championships in 1991, 1988, 1981, 1974 and 1970. In addition, Wood River captured South Central Idaho Conference regular-season pennants in 1992, 1988, 1985, 1982, 1974 and 1969. Wood River shared the conference title with Burley in 1992, its last league title, and boasted a school-record 10-0 home mark.

Here’s a recap of the past state tournament teams:


Wood River (18-8), under coach Norm Cook, started the season 6-0 and 9-1 then finished the regular slate 14-5 including a wild 91-83 overtime loss at Kimberly. The SCIC tournament adventure at CSI in Twin Falls started with a 61-52 win over Buhl, but Wood River fell into the loser bracket with a 84-67 setback to Jerome. The Wolverines battled back—beating Buhl 56-52, going four overtimes and handing Jerome its first loss 84-82, then toppling Jerome in the championship game 40-35. The state tournament at Holt Arena in Pocatello was heartbreaking for the Wolverines. Although Wood River was one of the best free throw shooting teams in school annals (400-for-601, 66%), Wood River shot 15-for-34 at the line and lost 67-66 to two-time defending state champion Preston. A disheartened Wood River team went home early with a 71-67 loss to Bonners Ferry, despite the single-game school state tournament record of 34 points by Brian Homer. Winning its first-ever state championship was Jim Potter’s Bishop Kelly (22-3) team, over Kuna, while Preston settled for third place. Wood River finished with a 65.4 ppg season scoring average led by Homer (15.5 ppg, 38 3-pointers), Phillip Morey (10.8 ppg), Travis Williams (8.9), David Morgan (8.9) and Clint Owen (8.3). Others on the team were Sean Johnson, Brett Jorgensen, Justin Parkinson, Tom Davies, Cris Aldinger, Jed Dilworth and Martin Torwan.


Led by A-2 Player of the Year Brad Jaques, Wood River won 11 of its first 12 games for coach Dick Richel and finished the regular-season with a 15-5 record. Ranked second at the district tournament, Wood River defeated Buhl 69-52 behind Jaques' 26 points, beat Jerome 72-59 as Jaques set a single-game school record of 42 points and held off Jerome 48-45 in the championship game. Jaques (21.7 ppg) averaged 27.7 in the district tournament then emerged as the leading scorer of all players in the State A-2 tournament with 72 points in three games—and 89% free throw shooting. He went on to have an outstanding college basketball career at the University of Redlands. At state in Holt Arena in Pocatello, Wood River beat Orofino 75-55, lost to Shelley 77-62 and dropped a 68-44 decision to Bishop Kelly. Other players on the Wolverine team (19-7) were Rick Bradshaw, Mike Healy, Brandon Crego, Mike Wheeler, Danny Armstrong, Cortney Gillett, Paul Wohlfeil, Andy Portillo, Shawn Bunch, Matt Kern and Chris Laggis.


Wood River, once 4-10, wound up 8-12 for first-year coach Dan Gillett, who inherited the head coaching job after Trenkle left for a college coaching career. The Wolverines carried the third seed into the district tournament. Although Wood River entered the meet with a 0-4 record against Buhl and Jerome, the Wolverines opened up with a 62-52 victory over Jerome and then ended a 22-game, seven-season losing streak to Buhl 54-53. In the championship game, Wood River held off a furious Jerome comeback to win the title 55-54. At state in northern Idaho, Wood River lost 78-52 to Kellogg, at Post Falls. Then Bishop Kelly of Boise ousted Wood River 72-63, at Coeur d'Alene, despite 31 points by Kip Brower. On Wood River (11-14) were leading scorer Brower, Stacy Sievers, Robin Sisiam, Lee Ritzau, Kyle Broadie, Jeff Bircher, Tracy Reynolds, Mike Payne, Glen Barras, Scotty Stewart and Mario Cardona.


In coach Fred Trenkle’s second season at the Hailey helm, Wood River finished 8-10 and placed third in the SCIC behind Gooding and Buhl. At district, the Wolverines defeated Jerome 44-38 but lost to eventual district and state champion Buhl 65-43. Wood River nipped Jerome 54-50 in overtime and, in a playoff to determine the region’s other state representative, the Hailey boys beat Bishop Kelly 47-36 at Mountain Home. At state in Idaho Falls, Wood River (11-14) lost to Salmon 55-41 and Snake River 64-60. On the team were co-leading scorers Tim Martin and Pat House, top rebounder Randy Linderman, Scott Uhrig, Steve Wheeler, Ralph Shirts, Robin Tracy, Craig Falco, Kevin Taylor, Tim Young, Kevin McBride and Andy Moore.


Fred Trenkle’s first season at the Wolverine helm produced the best state tournament finish of second place for Wood River (19-7). After ending in a three-way SCIC tie with Jerome and Buhl, Wood River at the district meet defeated Filer 44-41, beat Buhl 45-39 in overtime and romped over Jerome 45-34 in the title game. At state in Boise at Capital High School, Wood River slipped past Snake River 52-50 and Post Falls 63-49. In the State A-2 championship game, Grangeville turned a four-point half-time lead into a 59-52 triumph over the determined Wolverines. The Hailey team’s starters were first-team All-State Bill Aldinger, Steve Thompson, Wesley Moore, Scott Uhrig and Tim Martin. Reserves were Steve Wheeler, Gregg Sturtevant, Greg Paige, John Boutard, Phil Hofstetter, Ralph Shirts and Rick Laverty.


First-year coach Phil Homer, later the Wood River High School principal and Blaine County School District superintendent, directed the Wolverines to a 10-8 regular-season mark. At district, Mike Kimball buried the big shots as Wood River opened with a 52-51 win over Filer and 54-52 triumph over Gooding. Wood River got past Jerome 55-41 and took the undefeated boast into its championship game assignment against Buhl. The Indians won the first game 59-55, but Wood River bounced back with a 72-66 win at Buhl in the decider—Daryle James scoring 19 points, Denny Patterson 19, Rick Aldinger 17 and Mike Kimball 11. At state in Pocatello, Wood River (15-11) beat Preston but lost to Shelley and Aberdeen. Others on the team were Walt Haemmerle, Jeff Isom, Tim Brown, Ed Bowlden, Greg Exner, Al Miller and Rick Thompson.


Bill Bowman’s squad compiled the best record in school history but fell just short in the tournaments. Wood River was 16-2 in the regular campaign. Then, Filer defeated Wood River 53-44 in the district championship game. Led by Ken Byington’s 24 points, Wood River ousted Gooding 56-40 at Jerome for the region’s other state tournament berth. At state in Twin Falls, Wood River (20-5) defeated Rigby 50-34 but lost in overtime to eventual state champion Snake River 53-44. Other players on Wood River’s first state tournament team were Scott Bowlden, Buddy Isom, Phil Packer, Rick Aldinger, Daryle James and Mike Kimball.



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