For a long stretch of his 10 seasons in the 4A Southern Idaho Conference, Bishop Kelly High girls basketball coach Derek McCormick and the Knights had a rivalry with Middleton.
The Vikings won five consecutive 4A District Three Tournament championships from 2009 to 2013, beating BK for three of those five titles.
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But Middleton’s run of 11 straight state tournament appearances ended in 2014, and Bishop Kelly began a streak of its own, winning the past two district championships.
Their “old-school” rivalry picks up where it left off when the two programs meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Home High with another district title up for grabs.
“They’ve kind of been a thorn in our side,” McCormick said. “It’s an old-school matchup for sure, and I enjoy coaching against (Middleton’s) Andy (Jones). We’ve been going at each other for 10 years now, and it’s always fun.”
BK and Middleton split their regular-season meetings, with the Knights winning 48-43 on Dec. 6 and the Vikings 45-43 on Jan. 27.
BISHOP KELLY 41, SKYVIEW 32
The circumstances weren’t ideal, but the Knights got what they were after Tuesday night at BK.
Already playing without lone senior starter Aubree Chatterton — who was home sick with the flu — BK (18-6) had to overcome leading scorer Lydia Nieto’s early foul trouble for a victory over Skyview (10-11) and its third state tournament berth in a row.
“I have so much trust in my teammates,” said Nieto, who finished with a team-leading 14 points. “When I’m not in the game, I don’t worry because I know that they can take care of the ball and do what needs to be done.”
Nieto picked up her second foul with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter and did not return until midway through the second. The Knights trailed 18-15 at the half after shooting 18.5 percent from the field.
“It just seemed like a lot of in and outs. Off the backboard, off the rim,” McCormick said. “They just weren’t going in.”
Top-seeded BK put the breaks on No. 4 Skyview’s upset bid with a dominant fourth quarter. The Knights scored 14 unanswered points in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Junior Theresa Reeping’s 3-pointer gave the Knights their first lead of the second half, 31-28, with 3:21 to play. Reeping finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, scoring seven of those points in the fourth quarter.
“I think the key to the whole thing in the fourth quarter was us rebounding the ball,” McCormick said. “We got a lot of rebounds when we needed them at the end to allow them to foul us, and then we could go shoot free throws on the other end.”
MIDDLETON 46, CALDWELL 35
After a two-year absence, Middleton is heading back to state.
The former powerhouse program dominated the glass Tuesday at home, outrebounding Caldwell 31-15 to win its 12th straight game and guarantee its berth in the 4A state tournament.
Middleton coach Andy Jones said the Vikings’ (17-6) focus on rebounding has fueled their winning streak. Middleton hasn’t lost since Dec. 22 in a holiday tournament to Centennial.
“The kids are super excited,” Jones said. “Most of them have not been (to state) before. Sage Huggins is the only holdover from the last time.”
Sophomore forward Lexi Mitchell paced Middleton with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“She always plays hard,” Jones said. “I’ve never coached anyone who works harder than Lexi Mitchell, and that says a lot.”
Meriah Deugan added eight points for Middleton, and Zoey Moore hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half to give the Vikings a lead Caldwell (12-11) could never overcome.
Girls teams headed to state
▪ Class 5A: Eagle (22-1), Centennial (20-3), Mountain View (20-4), Kuna (11-2)
▪ Class 4A: Bishop Kelly (18-6), Middleton (17-6)
▪ Class 3A: Parma (14-6)
▪ Class 2A: Melba (19-2), Cole Valley Christian (16-4)
▪ Class 1A Division I: Idaho City (17-7), Horseshoe Bend (16-4)
▪ Class 1A Division II: Salmon River (15-5)
▪ Girls basketball: All six tournaments at Valley locations, Feb. 16-18
▪ Wrestling: Ford Idaho Center, Nampa, Feb. 24-25
▪ Boys basketball: All six tournaments at Valley locations, March 2-4