Capital boys basketball shooting for perfection

Only reigning champ Borah stands in the way of the Eagles’ undefeated season.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 8, 2014 

— The Capital High student section let its preference be known late in the fourth quarter of a victory over Lake City with three simple words: “We want Borah.”

The Lions didn’t deny the request.

Capital pinned down its 25th win of the season, and Borah followed with a victory over Rocky Mountain in Friday’s semifinals to set up a 5A state championship game filled with historic opportunities.

Borah will try to become the first team since the late 1970s to win three titles in a row at the 5A level, while Capital hopes to cap an unbeaten season with a state trophy — a feat that was last accomplished by a 5A school in 1995.

Tipoff is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

Capital won both regular-season meetings and most recently topped the Lions 70-55 in the 5A District Three semifinals Feb. 22.

“We just know that we are playing Capital tomorrow night,” Borah coach Cary Cada said. “They want to beat us, and we want to beat them. It should be a wonderful game.”

CAPITAL 66, LAKE CITY 58

A different game, a different leading scorer for the Eagles.

Capital (25-0) knocked out District One-Two champion Lake City (18-6) to move within one win of the 5A classification’s first perfect season since Centennial went unbeaten and won the state championship in 1995.

Junior Keegan Hansen contributed a team-best 18 points, and 10 different Eagles scored.

“I love my team so much, and I want to be able to have the opportunity to spend one more day with them,” said Hansen, who played for Bonneville last season. “Just thinking about being able to play with them one more day tomorrow is all the fire I needed.”

Capital led 27-24 at the half, but senior guard Jake Vetsch scored 11 of the Timberwolves’ 13 third-quarter points. Vetsch scored a game-leading 24 points, but the Eagles leaned on their team-first approach to seal the win.

“It’s been a special season,” Capital coach Paul Rush said. “Regardless of what happens in 32 minutes tomorrow night, it’s been a great season.”

Junior point guard Derrick White also reached double figures for the Eagles with 17 points, and freshman Hodges Bailey contributed seven points off the bench.

BORAH 57, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 43

Rylan Bergersen received a little advice from veteran point guard Isaiah Wright before their semifinal game against the Grizzlies.

“Be aggressive,” Wright said.

As it turns out, the 6-foot-1 sophomore guard is as good a listener as he is a basketball player.

Bergersen challenged Rocky Mountain from the start, making two 3-pointers within the first two minutes and scoring 10 of the Lions’ 18 first-quarter points.

“I was just going out there and trying to attack and just get to the basket,” said Bergersen, who finished with 16 points.

Bergersen’s hot start offensively was matched by his teammates on defense. The Lions held the Grizzlies to 34 percent shooting and limited Rocky Mountain 3-point record holder E.J. Boyce to five points.

Wright, the reigning Gatorade player of the year and a Utah signee, led the Lions in scoring for the second straight day with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Borah finished 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, including 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter, to fend off Rocky in a rematch of last year’s state championship game.

“We’re not satisfied yet,” Wright said. “We’ve got a great one tomorrow against a really good team, an undefeated team, and they’ve got our number so we’re just trying to come out tomorrow and play our best game and see if we can get this one.”

Rocky senior point guard John Sherle posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sherle and the Grizzlies (18-7) take on Lake City for the third-place trophy at noon Saturday at Columbia High in Nampa.

SKYLINE 67, TIMBERLINE 63

Junior Gibson Berryhill scored a game-high 27 points — including six 3-pointers — but the Wolves’ second-half rally came up short.

After leading by 12 early in the third quarter, Skyline held on with a balanced approach. Four Grizzlies reached double figures, led by sophomore guard Mason Baker’s 17 points.

Skyline (20-7) plays Highland (20-5) in the consolation final at 10 a.m. Saturday at Columbia, while Timberline (13-12) is eliminated.

HIGHLAND 48, POST FALLS 45

Matt Hillman’s potential game-tying 3 bounced off the rim, allowing the Rams to escape with a victory.

Highland junior guard Stefan Gonzalez led all scorers with 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists, and sophomore Connor Harding added 16 points to help the Rams advance to the consolation game.

Senior guard Nick Hall was the top scorer for Post Falls (15-10) with 13 points.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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