State seed: #2, District 6 champ
Coach: Raimee Odum, third season
Players to watch: G Esperanza Vergara, sr.; F Marlee Pieper, jr.; F Riley Layton, sr.
Notes: Making fifth straight state appearance… Only returning starter from last year’s team is senior guard Esperanza Vergara, who is averaging 14.8 ppg… Other key pieces include forwards Marlee Pieper (16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and Riley Layton (8.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg)... A title this year would give them two in three years… Have won 10 of past 11 games… Have never played first-round matchup Columbia during Odum’s tenure.
State Seed: #7; District Three second place
Coach: Neal Robertson, fifth season
Players to watch: G Ellie Robertson, jr.; G Jada Myers, jr.; P Mylie Mills, sr.
Notes: Columbia is at state for the second time in school history after qualifying in 2021. … Seven of Columbia’s 10 losses have come against teams playing in state tournaments, with three of those losses coming against Bishop Kelly and two against 2A #1 seed Melba. … Mills (9.9 points per game, 8.4 rebounds) is signed to play volleyball at Eastern Oregon next season. … Ellie Robertson leads Wildcats with 10.2 points per game.
State seed: #3, District One-Two Champion
Coach: Will Love, fifth season
Players to watch: W Kelsey Cessna, sr.; G Daylee Driggs, sr.; G Karlie Banks, jr.; G Aliya Strock, jr.
Notes: Ninth trip to state in the past 10 years … 0-2 at state last year … Last state trophy was third place in 2016 … Lost once each to state qualifiers Coeur d’Alene (5A) and Timberlake (3A), and lost twice to 5A Lake City and once to 5A Post Falls … went undefeated vs. 4A foes in the combined 5A/4A Inland Empire League, and beat 5A Lewiston … Have four strong scoring options in Strock (14.4 ppg, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 4.7 steals), Cessna (12.8 ppg, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.6 steals), Banks (11.3 ppg, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks) and Driggs (9.8 ppg, 5.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.2 steals) … Played in four state title games, the last in 1996 … Never won a state title … ranked fourth in final state media poll.
State seed: #6, District 4 champion
Coach: Anna Bateman, sixth season
Players to watch: Guard Carlie (CJ) Latta, jr.
Notes: At state tournament for the first time since 2019 .. Won conference title for the first time since 2016 .. Latta has garnered Division 1 attention … She has offers from Idaho, Wyoming, and Northern Arizona … Minico has never won a state title … They lost the third place game in 2019 and won the consolation game in 2018 .. The Spartans were tied for fifth in the final media poll.
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State seed: #4, District 5 champ
Coach: Sunny Evans, fourth season
Players to watch: F Kennasyn Garza, so.; F Abby Lusk, fr.; F Elle Hokanson, jr.; G Taylee Rogers, jr.
Notes: Making first state appearance since 2014… No seniors on team… Sophomore Kennasyn Garza leads team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg)... Freshman Abby Lusk averages nearly a double-double with 8.9 ppg and 7 rpg… Have won six straight and nine of last 10… Team averages almost nine steals per game… Seeking first-ever state championship… Lost to first-round matchup Bishop Kelly, 52-55, in late December.
BISHOP KELLY KNIGHTS
State Seed: #5; District Three champ
Coach: Derek McCormick, 15th season
Players to watch: F Caroline Knothe, sr.; G/F Addie Hiler, sr.; C Addy Laible, jr.
Notes: Bishop Kelly is in the state tournament for the second year in a row after making its first appearance since 2018 last season. … Knights enter state tournament on a 10-game winning streak, with their last loss coming against Skyline in the East Idaho Holiday Shootout on Dec. 29. … Won first district title since 2018. ... Both Knothe (13.9 points per game) and Hiler (10.1) are averaging double figures for Bishop Kelly this season. … Led the 4A classification with 30.2 points per game allowed on defense this season. … Only state title came in 2013.
State seed: #1, District six runner-up
Coach: Jessica Carlson, fourth season
Players to watch: G/F Brinley Cannon, jr.; G Mia Williams, so.
Notes: The Russets make their first state appearance since 2016 when they were in 3A. ... The team won the 4A District 6 regular-season title, but fell to Blackfoot in the district tournament and had to defeat Hillcrest to advance to state ... Shelley’s only losses since Dec. 13 have come to Blackfoot (twice). ... Shelley leads 4A in scoring at 63 points per game.
TWIN FALLS BRUINS
State seed: #8, District 4 runner-up
Coach: Michael Amaya, second season
Players to watch: G Halle Egbert, jr; G Rylee Robbins, jr.
Notes: First trip to the state tournament since 2017 season … Twin Falls has never won a state title … They will have their hands full in the opening round with top-seeded Shelley.