The Borah High boys basketball program stands as one of the state’s blue bloods.
The Lions took a brief step backward last season, missing the 5A state tournament for just the second time in 15 years with a young lineup and a new coach. But Borah has returned with a vengeance this winter, remaining undefeated at the season’s halfway mark after rallying for a 64-61, double-overtime victory Thursday at Mountain View.
The No. 1-ranked Lions (10-0, 6-0 5A SIC) started Thursday dreadfully, shooting 6 for 34 (17.6 percent) in the first half and dragging their feet up and down the court. But Borah made a mad charge in the second half, erasing an 18-point deficit late in the third quarter to force overtime.
“They didn’t quit,” Borah coach Jeremy Dennis said. “We had guys come off the bench that gave us energy that maybe we were lacking a bit from the starters. But they just came together as a team and said if we are going to go down, we’re going to go down fighting. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
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Borah took its first lead with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter when sophomore forward Austin Bolt collected a Biggie Bergersen missed 3-pointer for an easy putback. Neither the Lions nor the Mavericks (6-4, 4-2) could gain an edge in regulation or in the first overtime. But Bolt’s fast-break layup gave Borah the final lead with 1:16 left in double overtime.
Bolt, who finished with a double-double of 19 points and 21 rebounds, had a chance to seal the game at the free-throw line. His missed both with 6 seconds left but made up for it by recovering to block a game-tying 3-point try from Jaxon Gentry at the buzzer.
“He exemplifies effort,” Dennis said. “His nose for the basketball is unparalleled, and he always plays really, really hard. He’s been a consistent double-double guy for us. He’s just a sophomore and he’s gaining some confidence and maturity.”
Bolt is just one of a host of young, up-and-coming players for the Lions who cut their teeth during last season’s down year. Borah returns four starters from a 14-11 team, including junior guard Ellis Magnuson, who finished with 19 points and six assists despite starting the game 0 for 8 from the field. Only one of those starters, Jay Ahlstrom, is a senior.
That experience has Borah standing all alone atop the 5A SIC standings as the conference’s only unbeaten team halfway through the season.
“Last year, we weren’t working as well as a team. We were just a couple kids trying to take over,” Bolt said. “Now this year, we all have a good bond with each other and it’s the reason we’re excelling.”
Rollie Lane starts Friday
The Treasure Valley’s largest wrestling tournament, the Rollie Lane Invitational, kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
The tournament draws 64 teams from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado. Post Falls is the three-time defending champ.
All placing matches start at 4 p.m. Saturday. A two-day pass is $22 for adults, $19 for those 65 and older, and $18 for students with an activity card. One-day passes for Friday ($12 adults, $11 seniors, $10 students) and Saturday ($15 adults, $14 seniors, $13 students) are also available.