Capital, Rocky Mountain boys headed to state tourney

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comFebruary 23, 2014 

The Capital High boys basketball team clinched a spot in the 5A state tournament with a 70-55 victory against two-time defending state champion Borah on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Meridian High.

BRIAN MURPHY — bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

MERIDIAN — Despite its 21-0 record and regular-season dominance, the Capital boys basketball team still hadn’t locked up a spot in the 5A state tournament.

Until Saturday night.

Capital defeated two-time defending state champion Borah, winner of 10 straight games, 70-55 to secure a spot in the District Three title game — and its place in the state tournament.

“It’s a relief,” said senior Hunter Young. “We’ve still got work to do. We’re still trying to make our mark in districts. Once we finish up district, we’ll move on to state.”

Rocky Mountain punched its ticket to the state tournament with a 75-70 overtime win over Boise at Meridian High. The Grizzlies, which lost in the state title game last season, needed some late-game heroics to get their third — and, possibly, not final — shot at Capital in the district title game Friday.

“State’s special,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “But you always want some kind of hardware and we want another shot at Capital. They’re the best team right now and we just want another shot at them.”

CAPITAL 70, BORAH 55

Capital wasted little time taking over the highly anticipated match-up between the two hottest teams in the district.

The Eagles scored the first eight points of the game and extended their lead to 23-10 after the first quarter. The edge ballooned to 39-19 at halftime.

“I can give you 30 different excuses why we lost, but the bottom line was Capital wanted it too badly. We didn’t respond well to their athleticism and the intensity of their game. That first half was it,” Borah coach Cary Cada said.

The Lions (15-7) cut their deficit to six points late in the third quarter and got within seven points early in the fourth quarter after four consecutive points by star guard Isaiah Wright.

But Wright, a University of Utah graduate, picked up his third, fourth and fifth fouls in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, ending any real hopes of a comeback. His fifth foul came on a charge.

Wright led Borah with 10 points and six rebounds.

Capital got 18 points each from Hunter Young and Derrick White and 15 from Keegan Hansen.

The Eagles are seeking their first district tournament title since 2006.

“It would mean a lot for our school and, with the season we’ve had, it’ll mean a lot for our guys,” Young said.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN 75, BOISE 70 (OT)

Trailing by three in the final 15 seconds Saturday night against Boise, Rocky Mountain senior John Sherle took a pass from teammate EJ Boyce and drained a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

Sherle had seen this play before. Last summer, he sent an AAU game in Las Vegas to overtime with a 3-pointer off a pass from Boyce.

“We just got that chemistry with each other. We find each other when we’re open,” said Sherle, who was 1-for-4 from 3-point range.

Sherle was open because Boise double-teamed Boyce, refusing to let him attempt to tie the game.

“They did not want him shooting at all. He was killing them all night,” Sherle said.

Boyce did more damage in overtime. He converted a four-point play on the first possession of extra time and nailed another 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies the lead for good.

“He is the best shooter I’ve seen in many years,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “He doesn’t get the respect he deserves.”

Boyce finished with 27 points and made 7-of-12 3-point attempts. Kekoa Nawahine added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Rocky Mountain (17-5).

It was just enough to squeeze past Boise (16-6), which got 17 points and 15 rebounds from Sam Simpson.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444

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