These capsules are provided by newspapers throughout Idaho, including the Idaho Statesman. Statistics are provided by the teams.
Clark Fork Wampus Cats
Coach: Dexter Vogel, fifth season
Road to state: Beat Mullan 53-24 in the District I championship game to earn berth to state.
Key players: F Brocklynn Thornton, jr. (9 ppg, 8 rpg); G Dimi Kailang, so. (8.7 ppg, 3.3 steals); G Celeste Komanec, jr. (6 ppg, 3 apg); G Zara Palmer, sr. (3.5 steals); F Tessa Vogel, so. (5.5 rpg).
Notes: Clark Fork lost to eventual state champion Richfield in the first round of last year’s state tournament. Beat Rockland in consolation before losing to Summit Academy in the consolation final. Many of the Wampus Cats’ losses this season came against school from higher classifications.
Dietrich Blue Devils
Coach: Acey Shaw, sixth season
Road to state: Beat Community School 89-18 in District IV quarterfinals; beat Carey 47-40 in semifinals; lost to Richfield 55-43 in district championship; beat Camas County 63-23 for second place.
Key players: G Ellie Dalton, jr.; F Moriah Dill, jr.; G Charley Bingham, so.; G/F Shayla Porter, sr.
Team breakdown: The Blue Devils are making their fourth straight state tournament appearance and 12th in the last 15 seasons. They’re going for their 10th trophy in that timeframe. Dietrich’s only losses are to undefeated North Gem and two-time defending state champ Richfield.
Garden Valley Wolverines
Coach: Heather Kelly, second season
Road to state: Lost 47-38 to Meadows Valley in the District III semifinals; beat Council 52-16 in district elimination game; beat Meadows Valley 55-44 in second-place game.
Key players: G/F Chancey Jones, sr.; G Tess McInnally, sr.
Team breakdown: The Wolverines did not make the state tournament last year, but have two players (Jones and McInnally) who played in the state tournament the two previous seasons. Garden Valley lost to Richfield in a state play-in game last season, and will be looking for revenge when it plays the Tigers in the first round Thursday. The Wolverines are the only team to have beaten 1A Division I qualifier Notus.
Coach: Tanya Barker, first season
Road to state: Beat Sho-Ban 41-38 in District V-VI semifinals; lost to North Gem 44-35 in championship game; beat Rockland 63-57 in second-place game; beat Camas County 52-49 in state play-in game.
Key players: G Alaysha Whitworth, sr.; G Lyndsay Tillotson, sr.; F Mariah Williams, soph.
Team breakdown: Mackay returns to the state tournament after missing it last season, which snapped a streak of six straight tournament appearances. … Five of Mackay’s 10 losses have come to 2A opponents. Two more came to 1A Division I state qualifier Challis. Its only losses in the 1A Division I classification came to undefeated North Gem, three times.
North Gem Cowboys
Coach: Cody Hansen
Road to state: Beat Rockland in the semifinals, beat Mackay in championship game
Key players: C Kirsti Christensen, G Aspen Holbrook, G Cheyenne Williams
Team breakdown: North Gem finished fourth in the state last year and returns almost its entire roster from that team. The Cowboys are a tested group, having earned wins over Richfield and Cokeville (Wyo.) In their second win over Cokeville, North Gem erased an 18-point deficit in the final quarter.
Richfield Tigers (defending champions)
Coach: Steve Kent, 10th season
Road to state: Beat Murtaugh 59-14 in District IV quarterfinals; beat Camas County 43-25 in semifinals; beat Dietrich 55-43 for district championship.
Key players: G Mirian Rivas, sr. (11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.1 apg); G Sasha Kent, jr. (10.3 ppg, 5.9 steals).
Team breakdown: This isn’t the typical run-and-gun Richfield team that stifles you with full-court pressure defense and scores early and often in transition, but veteran coach Steve Kent found a way to get his team in position to vie for a third straight championship and a fourth in five seasons. Rivas and Kent make the offense go, forcing teams to stretch their defenses and make themselves vulnerable to a bevy of capable posts.
Summit Academy Patriots
Coach Pete Prigge, sixth season
Road to state: Beat Timberline 60-42 in District I-II first round, beat Nezperce 44-38 in second round and 51-48 in overtime for the district championship.
Key players: G Rachel Wemhoff, sr.; G Jamie Chmelik, sr.; F Savannah Prigge, jr.
Team breakdown: Sr. Rachel Wemhoff functions as the veritable “quarterback” of the Patriots from her guard position. She joins Jamie Chmelik and Savannah Prigge as the trio of leaders on the team. There are 15 girls at Summit Academy and all but three play on the girls basketball team.
Coach: Kylee Morris, first season
Road to state: Beat Council 66-26 in District III semifinals; beat Meadows Valley for the district championship.
Key players: Not provided.
Team breakdown: The Titans lost in the 1A Division I state consolation game a year ago, but moved down to Division II this season.