Any 2A thoughts? A couple of weeks ago I would have said that I had a hard time seeing anybody being able to beat Ambrose after they handled Melba, but since then they have been beat by both Nampa Christian and Oakley. The WIC seems like a bloodbath this year. Ambrose, Melba, Cole Valley, and Nampa C all are solid and have the ability to beat one another, and New Plymouth is a potential spoiler. North Fremont hasn't lost since the first game of the season versus West Side, but I don't know that I would rank them ahead of Ambrose or Melba. West Side is solid, but the rest of their district seems down. St Maries will come out of the north again, and are a good team, but got beat pretty easily by Ambrose earlier in the year (it was a competitive first half, then the Archers ran away with it in the second half.) District Four is the toughest to predict, all three squads are decent and could prevail, but I don't see any of them making too much noise at state.
My personal ranking: 1 Ambrose, 2 Melba, 3 NorthFremont, 4 St Maries, 5 West Side, 6 Cole Valley, 7 Wendell, 8 Ririe 9 Nampa Christian, 10 Valley.
Haha I don't know about lottery numbers, but apparently I was pretty close with my pre-tournament predictions. Just missed Bear Lake over Ambrose (Ambrose went cold in that game and the Melba game). Fun tournament to watch! Here's my personal all-state teams:
POY: Jordan Lenz, NF (Didn't win the title, but he was definitely the most impressive player in 2A)
Joe Reiber, Melba
Tristan Gentry-Nelson, St Maries
Bryler Shurtliff, West Side
Johnny Sugarman, Ambrose
Braden Volkers, Melba (wouldn't have been on before the state tourney, but he showed up big time at state).
Hudson Hughes, Ambrose
Tyler Beresford, Bear Lake
Lakota Steele, Cole V
Kyle Christensen, Valley
Greyson Sands, St Maries
Fun day one. Agreed that the Ambrose-Melba game was interesting, as the top players couldn’t seem to buy a bucket. St Marie’s and Melba are both big and physical, and that would be a fun matchup for sure. I came away from the first game of the day more impressed by Valley than I thought I would be, they looked better than the 8th best team in this tourney yesterday. North Fremont certainly looked vulnerable, but man is jordan Lenz an Incredible player. The guy just gets the job done, and his 34 points yesterday really was “quiet”. I don’t know if he’ll be enough to carry NF to the title, but he’s pretty special. Picks for today:
Valley upsets a discouraged Ambrose
Bear Lake over firth
Melba in a tight one over NF (North’s press could cause melba some issues)
St Maries over West Side
After watching all 4 first round games, I think that St. Marie’s vs Melba would be an amazing game on Saturday. St. Marie’s got the best draw and most clear runway to the final. Melba vs Ambrose was interesting, as neither team’s best players showed up. They were both carried by scorers that normally would be 3rd or lower on their leaderboards. I wonder if that game would have turned out differently if Ambrose’s starting center hadn’t been injured in the district tournament. N Fremont is the wild card here to me. Lenz is obviously a great player and they run their system very well. That being said, they struggled to put Valley away and they just don’t look as strong as the other two when passing the eye test. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they wind up in the championship either. I was shocked when I saw Lenz’s point total in the write up. Is it possible to score a “quiet” 34? I knew he was the best player when watching, but I definitely didn’t remember that many buckets! West Side seems like the obvious 4th place to me. But they are senior heavy and Shurtliff is a very good player. I would go 1. St. Marie’s 2. Melba 3. N Fremont 4. West Side after watching all of them on day one. But we will have to see how they bounce back on day 2. Sometimes, depth has something to say about this second game after most teams shortened their benches to 6 or 7 players in round one.
Yeah I agree! when you have a good coach that has the kids playing disciplined basketball like NF, they will always be there. You can say the same if coach adams and Firth. Hasn’t had much Talent for years but still gets his teams in position to win.
Melba isn't the only team in 2A that knows how to play a physical "football" type of game. Physical games don't scare teams like NF or St. Maries. I find it funny how people always bring up the depth and size of NF. If you know anything about NF, you'd know they haven't had depth and size for the last four years but still manage to win against good teams that did. My point is everyone knows Melba is good but NF is just as good too. Also it is really hard to keep beating the same good team during the season and through district play so I wouldn't count out Ambrose just yet.
The top half is definitely stacked, and I'd be pretty confident in betting that whoever comes out of the top half winds up winning on Saturday. I'm also leaning towards Melba. They have handled Ambrose pretty impressively their last two matchups, and North Fremont doesn't have much depth, or size. NF runs their system very well however, as they have for the last 3-4 years. It's a toss up for me in the bottom half as well, St Marie's probably isn't as good as last year, Firth, BL, and West Side are all good but teams with a few flaws as well. I would say West Side has the most talent(?), but doesn't always play up to it. Shurliff is great though. I think I'll take the experience of St Maries to advance to the title game however.
So my picks for this weekend:
Championship: Melba over St Maries
3rd: North Fremont over West Side
Cons: Ambrose over Bear Lake
Should be a fun tournament!
I agree with the sentiments that the bracket is overloaded on the top half. St. Maries appears to have a nice path forward on the bottom half. Up top, throw a dart at the board between North Fremont, Melba and Ambrose. I think I'd ultimately lean Melba. They are physical and can win those football-type contests that seem to pop up at state. Ambrose can get hot from three, but that's a tough strategy to implement three games in a row. North Fremont is also very talented, and runs a great system. That top half will be must watch for sure!
The fact that a 8 loss team gets a 2nd seed is a strong 2A field is crazy. The top side of the bracket is overloaded and obviously the hardest side. Leave it to the IHSAA to sell us out to a big company like max preps to dictate to on how to play our most important games while we just sit back and accept it.
I still don’t think the rankings are accurate for the best teams in the state. West side does not look like a #2. I think NF deserves the #1 but Melba and Ambrose should follow as #2 and #3. St Marie’s would be a good #4 and then I’d put West Side at #5. The rest of the way looks about right with #6 Firth beating bear lake both times.
Well the bracket is set, with West Side making their free throws and holding off Nampa Christian in the play in game today. I'll admit, I was cheering for NC, from a spectators standpoint, as the West Side win makes it so two of the four day one games will be rematches of district title games. Melba playing Ambrose, and them being in the same half of the bracket as North Fremont, just doesn't seem very fair, for the teams and for the spectators. Those three teams have been the three best teams in the state all year, in my opinion. Oh well. Can't change it.
also I agree it will be tough to beat NF twice in a row…but having already clinched a state tournament berth, I’m just saying Firth could surprise. Firth hasn’t had near the talent theyve had in the past but Coach Adams always seems to get the best out of his players.
You can say that about any game! Firth and ririe played in overtime earlier in the year and if firth would have made their free throws. They win by 10+ as well. Firth is getting better may the right time so I’m just saying watch out for them. You never know with coach Adams success in the state tournament.
I've always thought Bear Lake was better than their record indicated. In almost every game with top ranked teams, Bear Lake lost by less than 10 points. They are a hard team to play against. As for Firth, they are a good team but if Ririe would have made their free throws Ririe wins by ten. I just can't see Firth beating NF two straight games in their district championship. NF played lousy when they lost to Firth and still Firth only beat them by four. They do have a good coach that knows how to prepare them though. I struggle to believe the Boise schools are the best of the best this year. In the last three years, Ambrose and Cole Valley have struggled with the physical game of St. Maries, NF, and West Side. I know they have great players/coaches, but I just think at state anything can happen.
How about Bear Lake? Second year in a row they have knocked off West Side at districts. Now that play-in game becomes a lot more interesting. The Pirates are in a precarious position, I think.
Looks like Coach Adams got Firth back to state. Don’t count out the Cougars who just beat Ririe out. They also beat North a few weeks back.
Regarding the current MaxPreps rankings, I do not think West Side is the 2nd best team in the state, after watching them score only 27 points against Bear Lake last night. St Maries is also ranked ahead of an Ambrose team that beat them by 16 earlier in the year. If the rankings remain where they currently are, it shouldn't be too much of an issue for matchups, but I still don't think the current MaxPreps system is the best long-term solution for ranking the teams and state matchups. Formula is far from perfect. It is certainly preferable though to the previous system. A step in the right direction.
Ambrose and Melba became the first two teams to clinch state bids, they'll meet in their district title game next week. Bear Lake just upset West Side to gain the inside track to a state bid in D5. Apparently Valley is the team showing up in D4 (I saw they were the preseason #1 pick in their district coaches poll, but heard they've had some injuries this year). North Fremont and Ririe look solid so far out of D6.
This weeks coaches poll speaks to the depth and how wide open 2A is this year. 5 teams receiving first place votes. Should be a fun next few weeks!
Agreed, I have seen some of Melba, and Reiber is legit. So is their other big post (I think he's only a sophomore?). Melba is a tough matchup for anybody, they can bully you inside, and if their outside shots are falling they will be near impossible to beat. On the other hand, when Ambrose is forcing turnovers and knocking down scores of three pointers, they're a tough out too. Agree brandon with what I've seen from west side, they're active, and have another all-state player in Shurtliff(?).
I agree with the assessment of the physicality of Melba. I've seen them play a couple times and they're fast and physical! In your top players list I would also include Joe Reiber from that team. He's one of the best scorers in the state and extremely athletic!
I saw West Side play Aberdeen last night and get a win. Their press was extremely effective. Blaize Brown had 7-8 steals out front of the press. I know St. Maries likes to press as well. The 2A tourney could come down to who takes care of the ball the best. In that case, I'd lean Ambrose. Johnny Sugarman is the best ball handler in 2A, in my opinion.