NAMPA — It may have been Hunter Youngs night to shine, but this season turned out to be one shining moment for the Capital High boys basketball team.
Young went 8-for-11 from the field with six 3-pointers and finished with 28 points to spearhead Capitals 63-53 victory against two-time defending champion Borah in the 5A state championship game Saturday night at the Ford Idaho Center.
Capital is the first 5A team to finish the season with a perfect record since Centennial went 26-0 and won the state title in 1995.
Its awesome and its such a joy. There is so much fulfillment and so much fun being with those guys, Capital coach Paul Rush said. To work so hard and to finish this way is just a special thing.
The Eagles (26-0) are the fourth team in the 55-year history of the 5A Southern Idaho Conference to go undefeated and win state. In addition to Centennials run in 1994-95, Capital did so in 1974-75 and again in 1977-78.
Borah was trying to win three straight 5A titles for the first time since the late 1970s.
After the win, Rush emerged from the locker room soaking wet, and grinning from ear to ear.
Rush celebrated his 31st birthday Saturday, one hell likely never forget. Not even Rush was born when Capital won its last of four straight state championships in 1978.
We were able to just look them in the eye and tell them, Youre one of the best teams thats played in this state ever, Rush said. Theyre living it up, being kids, and its pretty fun to be a part of that.
Capital trailed 18-14 after the first quarter and 28-25 at halftime before rallying in the second half as it has done all season.
Thats what we do. At some point in the second half, we always go on runs, Rush said. We feel like we can wear teams down. Weve got guys that come off the bench and play really aggressive defense.
As the Eagles buckled down on defense, Young continued to knock down shots on the other end of the floor.
The senior guard who has signed to play for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. made two key 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the third quarter and went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final frame.
Give Capital all the credit. For crying out loud, when they make the plays that they made in that decisive run at the end of the third quarter, they deserve to win, Borah coach Cary Cada said. The shots that Hunter Young made, I dont know how to guard it any better than we did.
Borah (18-8) was attempting to win its third consecutive state championship and fifth in 11 seasons.
With starting senior guard Nick Reed sidelined with a concussion a decision that was made Saturday morning the Lions simply could not match the depth of the Eagles bench.
I am unbelievably proud of the way our guys played, Cada said. They absolutely played their hearts out to get here and for the last three days.
Saturday marked the end of four-year starting point guard Isaiah Wrights career. The 2012-13 Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year finishes with two state championships and four state tournament berths.
Wright had 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and one blocked shot. Sophomore DeAndre Jones added 14 points and sophomore Mark Jerome who started in Reed's place hit two 3-pointers.
But Saturday belonged to the Eagles.
Senior starter Nich Dow watched from the sidelines in the closing seconds, dancing alongside his teammates, who began to line up for a charge to center court at the buzzer.
Its amazing. It turned butterflies into birds, Dow said. I couldnt handle myself. Its an unbelievable feeling being first place and having all the obstacles against you and going through all the adversity. It feels good that hard work pays off.
Said Young: Its incredible to go out like this.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422; Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX