The Rocky Mountain High boys basketball team edged Boise 66-61 in a back-and-forth 5A District Three Tournament championship game Friday.
But as the final buzzer rang at Capital High on Rocky Mountain’s second district title in three years and its 22nd straight win, the Grizzlies (23-1) didn’t celebrate. They didn’t storm the court. They didn’t gather around the trophy for endless rounds of photos.
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Instead, the tight victory left a poor taste in their mouth, and they headed straight to the locker room knowing Friday’s effort won’t cut it as the Grizzlies chase their ultimate goal — a state title.
“We still got everything to prove,” Rocky Mountain senior point guard Kobe Terashima said. “Our goal from the beginning was a state title, and we’re still not there. We’re still set to get that.
“A district championship, yeah, it’s a good accomplishment. But we got to keep going, keep going to state.”
Both teams already clinched their berth into next week’s 5A state tournament at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa before Friday. With the win, Rocky Mountain will face Bonneville (14-10) at 3 p.m. Thursday in the first round. Boise (18-5) opens at 8 p.m. with the winner of Saturday’s play-in game between Capital (17-8) and Post Falls (17-3).
The Braves, who are in the state tournament for the first time since 1997, took control early as they searched for their first district title since 1990. Boise shot 8-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter and led by as many as 11 points.
But the Grizzlies weathered the storm and clawed their way back into the game as a tightened defense cooled off the Braves.
“It comes down to defense,” Rocky Mountain senior center Kolby Lee said. “Eventually, we started d’ing down, and we got better as the game went on.”
The Grizzlies built their lead by feeding Lee in the post. The BYU signee finished with 18 points and stretched Rocky Mountain’s lead to seven points when he drained a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter.
Boise made a late run behind junior Lucas Centeno, who scored a game-high 21 points and cut the deficit to two points with his steal and dunk with 3:39 left. But he fouled out with 1:06 left, and Boise couldn’t pull any closer as the Grizzlies hit 9-of-11 free throws down the stretch.
Terashima turned in another all-around game for Rocky Mountain. He finished with 15 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals while holding Boise’s top scorer, Paul Pennington, to 13 points.
“Kobe is an absolute beast. He does it all,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “He’s a triple-double guy in high school numbers. He locks up the best guy on the other team.
“Absolutely without a doubt, he’s the best point guard in the state. I would go to bat for that kid every day of the week. That guy is special. He really is.”
The win sends Rocky Mountain into the state as arguably the hottest team in the state. But none of those 22 straight victories transfer over to next week, and Madison looms on the opposite side of the bracket.
Madison (21-1) went wire-to-wire as the 5A classification No. 1-ranked team this season, with Rocky Mountain in second place each week.
“We’re really excited about our win streak. We’re super proud of it,” Roy said. “But we don’t hang our hats on it. That’s not why we’re playing. I know it’s a cliche, but we take it one game at a time.”
On to state
Fifteen Treasure Valley boys basketball teams have already punched their tickets to next week’s state tournaments, and four more (Capital, Nampa Christian, Wilder and Salmon River) will battle for the last spots in state play-in games Saturday.
- Rocky Mountain (23-1)
- Boise (18-5)
- Mountain View (16-7)
- Centennial (15-10)
- Bishop Kelly (19-4)
- Middleton (16-8)
- Vallivue (18-7)
- Weiser (21-1)
- Parma (13-10)
- New Plymouth (12-10)
- Melba (9-14)
Class 1A Division I
- Ambrose (18-5)
- Riverstone (17-4)
- Horseshoe Bend (16-9)
Class 1A Division II
- Council (13-5)