One of the less tangible cons about moving from the 4A class back to the 3A class this year for SVHS basketball had less to do with seniors and more to do with underclassmen. With the largest classification utilizing a sophomore designation as a staple, the program always seemed to have more players than minutes to go around even with additional games. The opposite may be true this season as with the move back to 3A is accompanied by the loss of a sophomore program and fewer spots available overall. The shakeout for this year’s team will have four seniors, nine juniors and five sophomores for the varsity and junior varsity teams. The positive is that this year’s squad appears to be deep and interchangeable.
“Being here for the second year; we are way ahead of where we were last year at this time,” said second-year coach Tony Saras. “Kids have a better idea of what to expect from me and I have a better idea of what to expect from them. We have a lot of kids coming back that have experience; so as far as what type of team we have, we’re probably more athletic. We have a lot of kids who can run.”
The Braves open up the regular season a week from today as they make the short trip to Montpelier to face the Bear Lake Bears in a long-time traditional non-conference rivalry game. The Braves survived the Bears by a single point in Idaho a year ago, 47-46. There was no return game played in Star Valley due to weather concerns by Bear Lake High School.
After graduating some big bodies in Josh Hunsaker and Clint Rich last year, the philosophy may change a bit for this season.
We will probably play more up-tempo this year more [full-court] pressing than last year,” Saras added. “That’s what we’ve been working on. “That’s dictated by the kids that we have [not] who we are playing. Maybe it will look like organized chaos at times this year. We have guys who like to get out and put pressure on the ball and we might be gambling a bit more this year.”