MERIDIAN — A few minutes into the fourth quarter, Isaiah Wright took a pass at the top of the arc and paused for a moment as if pondering a shot.
It was just long enough to shake his defender, and Wright went by in a flash and straight to the hoop for a layup.
The Borah High boys basketball faithful took a collective sigh of relief.
After a near 50-day absence while recovering from a broken right wrist, the Idaho Statesmans 2013 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year and reigning Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year made his return to the Lions starting lineup. Wright, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard, four-year starter and University of Utah commit, scored a modest seven points but added seven steals, five assists and four rebounds in 21 minutes to help the Lions top Meridian 51-43.
I just felt great being back on the court, Wright said. Ive still got to get my rhythm back. Being in the game is a whole different pace from working out. Ive got to get in shape and just get my rhythm back. I dont think its going to take a lot of games to do that.
Wright broke his wrist Dec. 12 during a 53-38 victory against Mountain View.
He then watched from the bench for 10 games, giving as much vocal support to his teammates as he could.
The Lions went 5-5 in his absence, and were beginning to find a new identity with three straight victories since mid-January.
Of course we love having Isaiah back, just because he is special to all of us, Borah coach Cary Cada said. We were at a point where without him we were doing better and we were playing better. Now, adding him back into the mix, I think it was a little bit bumpy tonight.
Fellow senior Nick Reed took the pressure off Wright on Friday. Reed scored 17 points, including four 3-pointers, and sophomore DeAndre Jones chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Weve had our struggles through the season, but we kept fighting and now were figuring it out. Its just resilience, Reed said. But we were pretty ready for (Wright) to come back.
Borahs win, in combination with a Timberline loss to Rocky Mountain, puts the Lions (9-6, 7-6) in a tie for fourth in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference standings with the Wolves, a team they edged 64-63 on Jan. 17.
There are five games remaining in the regular season before the 5A District Three Tournament starts. The Lions will need to be one of the top four teams in the tournament if they want to advance to state and try for a third straight state championship.
For now, theyre just glad to have their teammate and friend back on the court.
Isaiah means a lot to our team. He helps us out with everything and makes other players on our team better, Jones said. It was just good having him back.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX