The Emmett girls basketball team only starts a pair of seniors but it will feature experience on the perimeter and fast developing youth on the interior.
Senior Gemma LaVergne and junior Jazzy Jenkins already dominate the Huskie record books as three-point shooters. The guard pair took turns eclipsing single-game marksmanship records a year ago and were firmly ranked one and two all-time for career marks prior to the season tip-off Friday night against non-conference Filer.
Despite eight three-point connections from the pair, Emmett couldn’t find enough other scoring and fell to the visitors 64-51. Saturday afternoon against Weiser, however, the pair was shut down from the outside but countered with a more balanced interior attack and beat the Wolverines in overtime, 63-54.
That incorporation of more players into the offense is a key to the aspirations second-year coach Stuart Peterson has for this team.
“Gemma and Jazzy will likely be a little bit marked this season,” Peterson said. “We saw that from Filer coming out with their extended zone defense so we are going to have to be able to counter inside. I thought we made good game to game adjustments this weekend and the whole team really made some great contributions. We will have to keep developing consistency with that inside attack and if we can get teams to pull back in then those two will have better outside shots as well.”
Holly Goslin, who lost most of last season to a snowmobile related leg injury, joins LaVergne as starters from the senior class. Also providing experience and depth from the senior class are guards Jaidin Alexander and Hannah Tooley.
Juniors in addition to Jenkins are forwards Haylee Jewkes, Gwen King and Kenzie Fletcher. Sophomore forwards Layci Andrews and Trinity Sammons will be counted on heavily as well.
LaVergne and Jenkins were a combined 2-16 outside the arc against Weiser but were deadly at the free throw line – going 17-19 together. With strong inside contributions also from Goslin and Jewkes the Huskies had four players with double figure scoring. The quartet scored all 16 overtime points with Jewkes scoring six including a basket and one with 1:12 to play to put Emmett up 57-52. Jenkins scored the last six of the game to finish the night with a game-high 16 points.
The Huskies finished last season with a 7-18 season record, sixth in the nine-team Southern Idaho Conference. The improvement in scoring balance and strong interior play will go a long way in determining where they finish this year.
“We will be undersized often in conference play,” Peterson said. “That’s doesn’t mean we wont be able to hold our own by playing strong inside, taking care of the basketball, and do the fundamental things like blocking out. We don’t have the depth of experience some of the teams will have but I like the attitude and willingness to fight with this group.”
Caldwell and Middleton advanced from the SIC to state a year ago, finishing second and third. Both will be considered contenders again this year though each graduated some key contributors. Kuna lost a State play-in game and the Kavemen and perennial threat Bishop Kelly are expected to challenge.
Vallivue, Nampa, and Emmett battled for the five through seven positions all season and each could make a move this season.
For the Huskies to see that improvement in the SIC position, the apparent growth in the first two games will need to continue. Emmett traveled to Middleton on Tuesday to open conference play and will conclude its pre-Thanksgiving schedule when Nampa visits on Thursday. The Huskies and Bulldogs split last-second road wins during the regular season a year ago.