MERIDIAN The previous meeting between the Capital and Rocky Mountain boys basketball teams required overtime to determine a winner.
Although Friday nights rematch didnt need an extra four minutes, the result was still in doubt until the final buzzer.
Rocky Mountain trailed Capital for all but the last 4 minutes in a come-from-behind 43-41 victory.
Capital led by as many as 13 points midway through the third quarter before Rockys big men took control in the paint.
Six-foot-5 senior post Matt Grooms gave the Grizzlies a 38-36 lead their first of the game on a layup with 4 minutes, 42 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Senior forward Nate Bruneel then converted both free throws in a double-bonus situation, and 6-6 Austin Hall followed with a putback inside to give the Grizzlies their largest lead of the game.
We knew our size was a strength for us against Capital, Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. I challenged those two bigs, Grooms and Hall, to play better. They rose to the challenge in the second half and rebounded very well and were aggressive. It was probably the key in our win.
Before the Grizzlies (12-3, 10-3) could catch their breath, however, Capital sophomore point guard Derrick White nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Eagles within 42-41 with 2:32 left on the clock.
The score would stay that way for more than 2 minutes, as Rocky went 1-for-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
Capital got the ball back with 8.1 seconds remaining and set White up for the game-winner, but his shot at the buzzer fell short.
Derrick White is a really tough player and hes going to be really good for the next couple of years, Capital coach Paul Rush said. He had a couple looks and hes beating himself up, but he played a great game and hes going to get more opportunities like that down the stretch.
White finished with a team-high 11 points for the Eagles (9-6, 8-5), who were 3-17 last season.
We have a lot of young kids who havent been in big moments yet, so they are learning how to do that, said Rush, who starts just one senior. Tonights part of that learning process.
The Grizzlies remain in the hunt for the 5A Southern Idaho Conference championship behind Borah (15-0, 13-0). The Lions and Grizzlies meet for the second time this season next Friday at Rocky Mountain.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX