The excuses were there for the Middleton High girls basketball team, if they were needed.
The Vikings lost starting point guard Celeste Pantoja to a knee injury in the first quarter.
They were on the road against the No. 2 team in the conference.
It was Bishop Kellys Senior Night.
The cards were stacked against the Vikings, but in the end, it didnt matter.
Middleton survived a 4A Southern Idaho Conference slugfest, holding off Bishop Kelly 45-39 on Wednesday night to improve to 18-0 overall and 14-0 in league play.
It was the 67th consecutive victory for the three-time defending state champions and the 74th in a row against 4A SIC opponents. The victory also assured Middleton the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, which starts Feb. 2.
I definitely was a little nervous in the fourth quarter, said Middleton junior DRae Tullock, who finished with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds. But I know my team is going to pull through and were going to make smart plays and make our free throws.
Middleton led 40-36 with about 3 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but the momentum seemed to lean in Bishop Kellys favor after the Knights created several turnovers with their fullcourt press.
It took two free throws from Tullock to quiet the packed gym and squash Bishop Kellys upset bid.
The game got kind of wild at the end, Middleton coach Andy Jones said. We just made enough points, got enough stops, got enough rebounds, just enough of everything, to get it done.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422