Bishop Kelly and Middleton met a week ago to determine the 4A District Three Tournament championship, which Middleton won.
The two programs are on the road to meet again for a state title Saturday with both the Knights and Vikings winning their opening-round games Thursday at the 4A state tournament. But Preston and Twin Falls will have plenty to say about a potential rematch.
Middleton (19-6) takes on Preston (17-7) in the first state semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Mountain View High. Bishop Kelly (19-7) follows against Twin Falls (16-7) at 8 p.m. in the third meeting between the teams this season.
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Bishop Kelly and Twin Falls split their regular-season series.
BISHOP KELLY 56, CENTURY 49
Junior forward Theresa Reeping scored a season-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds — her third double-double in the last four games — to lead the Knights to a victory over Century.
Reeping’s contributions went beyond the box score Thursday. Chinma Njoku, Century’s 6-foot-1 sophomore forward, poses a matchup problem for any team in the state with her length and athleticism. But Reeping attacked her from the opening whistle to the final buzzer, saddling Njoku with foul trouble. Njoku finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds but only played 17 minutes, 42 seconds, opening the floor for the Knights’ guards.
“I just knew that I had to do my part for my team,” Reeping said. “Whether that was boxing out or making sure to play good defense, I just knew had to take care of my part.”
Century pulled within three points with 1:49 left on an Olivia Holt 3-pointer. But back-to-back buckets from Reeping keep the game out of reach for the Diamondbacks, who beat Bishop Kelly in last year’s 4A state championship.
Bishop Kelly coach Derek McCormick pointed out Bishop Kelly only returned three players from that loss at the Idaho Center, so the win didn’t provide much revenge for the Knights’ players. Beating a program capable of winning back-to-back state titles meant more.
“We’re not the best basketball players in the world, but we just have a group of gritty kids,” McCormick said. “They came to play today.”
MIDDLETON 51, MINICO 44
With Minico’s late run cutting Middleton’s lead to one point, Zoey Moore caught the ball in front of the Vikings’ bench.
The Middleton freshman quickly drew a foul with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter and stepped to the free-throw line looking to stem the tide. Moore never showed her age and calmly sunk both, kick starting a 10-for-14 performance at the free-throw line that allowed Middleton to hang on for its 14th straight victory.
“We just needed to make one free throw, and we did it,” Middleton coach Andy Jones said. “And then everybody kind of relaxed and we can make the next one and the next one.
“Getting that one free throw to go down, we were all able to take a breath, relax and figure out this is what we need to do to win.”
The victory is Middleton’s 14th straight victory.
The former powerhouse missed the state tournament each of the past two years, leaving only one player who ever suited up at state — senior Sage Huggins. So when the final buzzer rang, the Vikings celebrated like it was their first time.
“It’s very exciting,” Moore said. “No one has ever been here, so it’s all new to us. We can’t wait to keep going forward.”
Middleton took control of the game in the second quarter, when it closed the half on a 10-1 run and went into the locker room with a 33-6 rebounding advantage. Middleton finished the game with a 53-27 edge on the boards.
Minico’s press kept the Spartans (16-9) in the game as they forced 13 first-half turnovers. But they could only force four in the fourth quarter when a fifth could have turned the momentum permanently in their favor.
“The kids played poised, we played calm and we took care of the basketball,” Jones said.
All 10 Vikings who played scored but none reached double figures. Meriah Deugan led Middleton with nine points, while Moore added eight.
Minico’s Saydi Anderson scored a game-high 11 points, shooting 9-for-11 at the free-throw line, and Tayla Sayer added 10.
TWIN FALLS 43, SKYVIEW 27
For a half, Skyview was ready to pull an upset. But the Hawks’ shooting abandoned them in the second half.
Skyview took a 20-14 lead into halftime over Twin Falls, the District Four champ. But the Bruins outscored Skyview 29-7 in the second half to run away.
After shooting 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) in the first half, the Hawks went an ice-cold 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) in the second half to finish the game 12-for-41 (29.3 percent).
“It was seriously hard to watch because they were playing so hard and were playing with so much passion,” Skyview coach Cindy Pasta said. “And then just to have it dry up like that, it was tough.”
Twin Falls’ Morgan Harr scored a game-high 18 points, and Maddie Aardema added 10. Natalie Robison led Skyview with 12 points.
Skyview (12-12), which started the season 0-6 before rallying to make state, takes on Century at 3 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket.
PRESTON 44, SANDPOINT 39
Preston overcame a 14-3 deficit, a decided height advantage and the Trinity Golder show to advance to the semifinals.
The Indians utilized a full-court press to dig out of the early hole and flustered Sandpoint’s guards the rest of the game. Harley Carlisle led Preston with 11 points and nine rebounds, and Sydnee Selley added nine points.
Golder scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-22 shooting for Sandpoint (10-12).