4A state girls basketball roundup: Skyview eyes first championship

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comFebruary 22, 2014 

— A first-time 4A champion will be crowned Saturday night at the Ford Idaho Center.

Skyview and Twin Falls - both seeking their first girls basketball state title - will meet at 6 p.m. in the championship game.

"Somebody is going to get a banner," Skyview coach Cindy Pasta said.

The senior-heavy teams - Skyview has five seniors, Twin Falls has seven - advanced to the final with solid victories in Friday's semifinals at Mountain View High.

SKYVIEW 60, POCATELLO 50

With its 15-point lead cut to a mere three points, and its star post player on the bench with four fouls, Skyview needed a big play from senior guard Bailey Pasta.

She delivered.

Pasta's steal and layup with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter steadied the Hawks, who pulled away for a 60-50 victory.

"It was really big that Bailey recognized she needed to step up and she needed to make a change and she did it. And it helped calm us," Skyview coach and Bailey's mom Cindy Pasta said. "It helped us get back in our rhythm."

As did getting post player Leah Bonner back in the game. She was limited to 16 minutes, 37 seconds of game time by fouls. But she scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Skyview (24-1).

"Leah is just a complete presence on the court," Bailey Pasta said. "She brought it. It was awesome to have her back in there for the last couple minutes."

Bonner's rebound and putback off a missed free throw pushed the Skyview lead to 50-41. She and Pasta combined to score nine of the Hawks' final 12 points. Pasta made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 3:23.

Pocatello (14-11) hung tough behind the record-tying 3-point shooting of senior guard Paige Durrant. She tied her own state tournament record with seven 3-pointers. She made 7-of-14 3-point attempts and scored a game-high 24 points.

TWIN FALLS 47, MIDDLETON 28

The first time senior Kaitlyn Merritt and many of her Twin Falls teammates thought about winning the state championship came in the fifth grade when they started playing AAU basketball together.

Merritt and the senior-led Bruins are finally getting that chance. Merritt scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed a game-high five rebounds against Middleton.

"We can't settle for second," said Merritt, one of seven seniors on the Bruins' team. "It's been a goal of ours since we were way little."

Twin Falls (23-2) has never won a state title in girls basketball. Last season, the Bruins ended Middleton's 72-game winning streak in the first round of the state tournament. But they couldn't sustain the success, losing their next two games.

In Thursday's opener, Twin Falls needed a banked 3-pointer from Macy Urrutia as time expired to edge Nampa. There would be no first-round hangover this time.

"We learned. The girls learned," coach Nancy Jones said.

The Bruins didn't need Thursday's heroics against Middleton (17-8). They carved the Vikings' defense for 32 first-half points on 57.9 percent shooting from the field. And Twin Falls' defense flummoxed Middleton, collapsing as many as four defenders on star post D'Rae Tullock.

"We didn't do a very good job of passing out of the double team or making plays available for her to pass," Middleton coach Andy Jones said. "… We had no answer for their offense."

Middleton senior post Allison Cossins suffered a right knee injury late in the first quarter, ending her game. The Vikings lost senior guard Parker Curtis to a knee injury in the district championship game.

Tullock led Middleton with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The rest of the Vikings shot 5-for-22.

NAMPA 37, CENTURY 27

Nampa's second game in the tournament came down to the fourth quarter. This time, the Bulldogs came out on top. Nampa outscored Century 14-5 in the final quarter. The victory came one day after the Bulldogs suffered a last-second loss to Twin Falls on a banked 3-pointer at the buzzer. Nampa struggled from the line in the opener, but made 10-of-18 in the second half Friday.

BURLEY 48, SANDPOINT 47

Burley beat Sandpoint behind 16 points and eight rebounds from Chelsee Baker.

Sandpoint got 17 points from Madison Schoening and Hailey Olin, but it wasn't enough to stop Burley, which got scoring from seven players.

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