Local flavor: Three Treasure Valley 5A boys basketball teams in state semifinals

Capital, Borah and Rocky Mountain still in contention for the crown.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 7, 2014 

— The Treasure Valley’s top three 5A boys basketball teams laid down the law Thursday at the Ford Idaho Center, leaving just one out-of-town squad in the running for a state title.

Capital, Borah and Rocky Mountain won first-round games to assure District Three at least one spot in Saturday’s title game for the fifth year in a row.

Capital will try to continue its perfect season in a 6:15 p.m. semifinal Friday against Lake City, while two-time defending state champion Borah meets Rocky Mountain in a rematch of last year’s title game at 8 p.m.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN 74, POST FALLS 43

In terms of birthday gifts, John Sherle might have received one of his favorites Friday night.

It wasn’t the entire Rocky Mountain student section singing him “Happy Birthday” as the fourth quarter was winding down — that was a close second.

It was a commanding win over Post Falls that put the Grizzlies in the semifinals for the second straight season, and the opportunity to see every one of his teammates log playing time.

“I just feel like we jelled together,” said Sherle, who finished with 12 points and five assists. “We were ready for this game after that loss in the district championship. We were ready to take out that anger on a team that’s never seen us before.”

From the opening tip, Rocky Mountain set a feverish pace the Trojans simply couldn’t match. Senior shooting guard E.J. Boyce started with a 3-pointer, and the Grizzlies registered 23 points in the first quarter and a 35-25 lead at halftime.

“We came out and hit some shots early and kind of got our team going,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “The momentum just kind of followed throughout.”

Boyce finished with a game-leading 20 points, and junior guard Logan Skurdal added a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards. Eight Grizzlies scored and all 14 players played at least 2 minutes.

“We’re all cheering. Everyone gets to play. It’s a great atmosphere,” Skurdal said. “I love it.”

BORAH 69, HIGHLAND 54

DeAndre Jones squared up to the basket, paused momentarily and sank a 3-pointer.

A split second later, Jones darted through traffic and got his hands on a Highland pass.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore had another open look at the hoop, but instead passed it off to senior teammate Nick Reed. Reed’s 3-pointer dropped through the net as the buzzer sounded, giving the Lions (17-7) a two-point edge at the half and the confidence they needed to overcome the Rams.

“All of a sudden that explosion at the end (of the second quarter), I think it just completely turned the game around,” Borah coach Cary Cada said.

Borah began the third quarter the same way the second ended. Reed hit two more 3s and Jones another for a 40-29 lead with 6:21 on the clock.

Highland (19-5) was never able to recover.

Jones (19 points) and Reed (14) each finished with four 3-pointers, and senior Isaiah Wright led all scorers with 27 points, including 17 in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter.

The Lions advance to the state semifinals for the fifth year in a row.

“We had a long season that we had to grind out. We didn’t get the seed (at state) that we wanted, but it doesn’t matter,” Wright said. “We are going to have to face the top teams anyways at state.”

CAPITAL 66, TIMBERLINE 56

Having played Capital twice already this season, Timberline coach Bruce Logsdon knew how quickly the tide could turn against the Eagles.

Just as his Wolves pulled within two points late in the third quarter, Capital sent in fresh legs off the bench to run away with its 24th consecutive victory and a spot in the state semifinals for the first time since 2006.

“Capital is so tough and so deep that they come at you in waves,” Logsdon said.

Capital coach Paul Rush was able to get all 14 of his players on the floor, and nine registered three or more points. The balanced approach has led to a punishingly fast pace all season.

Gibson Berryhill’s putback with 1:28 left in the third quarter pulled Timberline (13-11) within 49-47, and that’s when the Eagles made their run.

“We had a lack of focus and a lack of defensive intensity. We started letting off the gas pedal a little bit, which you should never do,” said Capital junior point guard Derrick White, who led the Eagles with 13 points and four assists. “We just have to keep the pedal going and don’t let up.”

Senior guard Hunter Young also reached double figures for Capital (24-0) with 12 points, and juniors Elvis Rudan and Tarik Littlejohn each had eight. Berryhill finished with a game-high 16 for a Wolves team that will return four of its five starters.

LAKE CITY 55, SKYLINE 52

The Timberwolves left last season feeling as though they hadn’t played their best.

They made up for it in their first-round game against the Grizzlies, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the first half to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2002.

“We have a lot of seniors, and we just want to go out the right way,” Lake City senior guard Justin Pratt said. “I think last year we had a bad feeling and as seniors we want to go out strong.”

Lake City (18-5) trailed by two points with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter when Pratt pulled up and sank a 3-pointer for a 53-52 lead with 34 seconds on the clock.

With time running out, the Grizzlies (19-7) — who were playing at state for the first time in 14 years — were forced to foul.

Senior guard Chuckie Adams ended up with a one-and-one opportunity with 18.2 seconds remaining. Adams made both free throws, and the Timberwolves’ defense kept the Grizzlies from scoring on their final possession.

Six-foot-6 Kyle Guice led Lake City with 13 points and eight rebounds, and fellow senior Jake Vetsch dropped in 11 points and two assists.

“I’m pretty impressed with how we came back,” Lake City coach Jim Winger said. “The seniors stepped it up and finished it off.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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