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Clayton Cota

Owyhee's Clayton Cota takes a jumper from the right wing on Feb. 24 over Pahranagat Valley defender Hunter Holingshead during the Division 1A state semifinal at Durango High School.

OWYHEE – If the Owyhee boys basketball team is to make a return trip to the 1A state tournament, the Braves will have to do so after a massive turnover.

The 2016-2017 Owyhee team was laden with senior talent.

Graduated Trevor Shaw led the Braves to a spot in the state tournament – finishing with a No. 2 seed from the North – scoring a team-best 14.6 points on the season, earning a 1st-Team All-League selection.

Running the point, Shaw’s outside shooting and ability to distribute the basketball on dribble penetration proved extremely beneficial for the Braves.

He led Owyhee with 41 3s and knocked down 77 percent of his free throws.

Shaw found the 20-point mark three times on the year, scoring a season-high 23 points on Dec. 9, 2016, in Owyhee’s 61-37 victory over Excel Christian in Whittell.

Two graduated seniors of Owyhee’s state-qualifying team earned honorable mentions of the 1A Northern-East – center Kyon Walker and wing Ricky Baker.

Walker served as the second and final Brave who averaged double digits, scoring 10.7 points per game.

He also served as the Braves’ most-prominent presence in the paint, doing the physical and dirty work inside.

Walker scored a season-high 19 points on Jan. 21 against Jackpot, following with an 18-point effort on Jan. 26 in Carlin – rallying the Braves from a halftime deficit with 14 points coming after the break for a 62-48 victory.

Baker averaged 9.3 points for the season, nearly reaching a double-digit clip.

He displayed the ability to shoot from the outside and put the ball on the deck and finish on drives, connecting on 32 triples and leading the Braves with 85 percent shooting from the charity stripe.

What does head coach Robby Tate have coming back to the floor for the 2017-2018 campaign?

“We have young talent and speed,” Tate said.

He returns the Cordova brothers from last year’s team, junior post Ramon and sophomore wing Rigo.

Ramon flirted with a double-digit scoring clip last season, averaging 7.9 points per game.

He dropped double figures in six contests, going for a season-high 17 points on Feb. 3 against Independence.

Rigo averaged four points per game in his freshman season, notching a season-best 13 points and four 3s on Dec. 9, 2016, against Pyramid Lake.

He will be joined on the wing by freshman Julian Dick.

Tate expects junior Chance Cota to aid Ramon Cordova in the post.

He averaged 3.4 points per game as a sophomore, scoring his season high of 14 points on Feb. 16 against Virginia City during the opening round of the 1A North regional tournament in Elko.

Coach Tate said sophomore Clayton Cota will run the point during the early portion of the year, expecting his young, talented bench will see more time as the season progresses.

“I have three freshman who will play a lot. I’ll likely have them on the floor at the same time quite a bit,” Tate said.

Along with Dick, Tate said he is excited about the potential of freshman Desmond Hanchor at point guard and 6-foot-1 freshman Sequoia Roubideaux in the post.

“They may not start right away, but they are too tough not to have on the floor,” Tate said. “With our speed and athleticism, we will try to get out in transition more than I have in the past. We’re young, they just need to gain some game experience and mature.”

The Braves will open the season at home, taking on Rimrock (Idaho) at 7 p.m. MST Friday in Owyhee.


Sports editor and reporter

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