Six student-athletes from Wallace High School were recently named to the two North Star League all-league teams.
Seniors Maryssa Hogamier and Sierra Brantz were named to the lady’s team and then for the boys, sophomores Erik Brackebusch and Zack Welch and juniors Hunter Gust and Matt Farkas were all named to the teams and they all definitely earned the honors.
The girls were faced with a tough schedule, but they made the most of it and by the end of the season they were a formidable group who just barely missed qualifying for the state tournament.
“We played well all season and even in that last game we came out hard and played well, we just ran out of energy at the end,” Brantz said.
That loss to Troy in the play-in game was tough to swallow for the girls, who, in their opinion had faced much better competition throughout the year.
“They weren’t the best team we played, St. Maries was probably the toughest, Kellogg was up there too, but we just came out a little flat in the second half,” Hogamier said.
Despite the tough finish, the girls will remember the season fondly.
“We were such a good team, we worked well together,” Hogamier said.
Brantz followed that statement up with one her own.
“We were drama free and it made it really easy for us to work together,” Brantz said.
Next season, Wallace will be tasked with replacing their starting point guard and their leading scorer, but for the remaining girls both Hogamier and Brantz had advice for their teammates.
“Don’t ever give up, even if you get behind or begin struggling,” Brantz said. “Coach Lund never gave up on us, so you should never give up on your team.”
Hogamier’s response was more tailored to the individual players.
“Be selfless on the court, don’t let anybody get in your head,” Hogamier said.
The Miner boys ran the gauntlet this season, as they were handed their toughest schedule in years, but they definitely made the most of it.
Games against Kellogg, Genesis Prep, St. Maries, Bonners Ferry, Priest River, Orofino, and Lapwai dotted their schedule and battle tested them so that they could be ready at the end of the year for whatever team they drew in their play-in game.
What makes this group of boys different than most other teams in North Idaho is that they had four all-league players and will not lose a single one of them to graduation.
The way their season ended though, irritated them, but it made them hungry to get back to work.
“It was definitely disappointing to lose that game to Genesee,” Farkas said.
“We were winning at halftime and we just ran out of gas,” Welch said.
“Normally we are a second-half team, but we just didn’t have it that day,” Brackebusch said.
Even though they had been eliminated, most of the team made the trek to the state tournament in Boise earlier this month anyway, just so they could take in the experience and see what it is that they want to accomplish and it made them even hungrier.
“We watched the team that got out spot(Wilder), and we were better than them,” Gust said.
Farkas, the surgical point forward of the team was candid on what he thinks is going to be the thing that pushes the Miners to the next level.
“We need to get better defensively,” Farkas said. “We played a lot of games where we definitely scored enough to win, but we didn’t finish the game defensively.”
Brackebusch echoed that statement.
“We need to take the games a little more seriously if we want to finish them,” Brackebusch said.
“Coach says before every game that we need effort and attitude, I think we had the effort, but not always the right attitude to finish games.”
The Miners enjoyed a solid season though, something Gust equates to a coaching addition that helped balance the team.
“Coach (Corey) Miller is great and I love playing for him and I think him bringing Coach (Josh) Hemphill was great because he really gets on you and is intense when we need that,” Gust said. “Both are great because they tell you like it is, but having the contrasting styles definitely helped a lot.”
Coach Miller stuck to a pretty tight rotation this past year, but next year Welch believes more guys will get minutes and it will definitely be a good thing for the team.
“We aren’t losing anyone and we have some players who are pretty good coming into the program,” Welch said. “We had one game without Hunter (Gust) so Hully (Logan Hull) had to play all game and he did pretty well, so I think we’ll be even better next year.”