Three veterans and one rookie coach guided their teams to wins Thursday in the first round of the 5A state tournament at the Ford Idaho Center.
While Borah’s Cary Cada, Madison’s Bill Hawkins and Highland’s Chris Frost bring a combined 76 years of experience into Friday’s semifinals, Centennial is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2011 under first-year coach Josh Aipperspach, who once played against the three coaching legends.
Top-ranked Borah meets eastern champion Madison in the 6:15 p.m. semifinal, followed by 2015 state runner-up Highland against Centennial at 8 p.m.
CENTENNIAL 75, LEWISTON 54
Within the first minute of the third quarter, Lewiston starters Trystan Bradley and Dalton Stamper went to the bench with three fouls apiece. Centennial didn’t waste any time taking advantage.
The Patriots put up 49 points in the second half to race into the semifinals.
Centennial senior point guard Talon Pinckney — who played on Capital’s 2014 state championship team — made two three-point plays on his way to a game-best 18 points, and Kendall Williams and Delveion Jackson each scored 15 points as the Patriots shot 43.3 percent.
“We told them, ‘Let’s pound the post.’ I know (Lewiston) is big and their big guys are good, but when we get post touches, good things happen,” Aipperspach said. “We did that all second half and we got to the rim a lot.”
Combined with a 28-of-36 performance from the free-throw line, the Patriots (21-4) were able to withstand a strong shooting night from the Bengals (14-9), who shot 60 percent from the floor.
“We stayed in attack mode and then we played team defense,” Jackson said. “That was the biggest part, communication everywhere.”
Jackson and Williams had a combined five points in the first half, but the pair scored 15 of Centennial’s 24 third-quarter points while holding Lewiston to 10.
“I love this group. They don’t quit,” Aipperspach said. “We got down early, but I don’t worry about that because I know these guys are going to battle all the time.”
Lewiston, which was making its first state appearance since 2009, was led by sophomore post Braeden Wilson, who went 7-for-13 from the floor for 14 points.
The Bengals play Mountain View in a loser-out game at 3 p.m. Friday.
BORAH 51, CAPITAL 38
Borah’s 5A-leading defense took care of business in the first half, and the Lions’ 3-point shooters assumed control in the second half. Capital shot just 16.7 percent from the floor in the first half and 29 percent in the game.
The Lions are making their seventh consecutive appearance in the state semifinals.
Borah junior guard Max Reitman led all scorers with 13 points, while going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Reitman sparked the Lions’ offense in the third quarter, scoring their first eight points, including a pair of 3s.
“Fortunately there in the second half we were able to maintain pretty good defense,” said Cada, whose team shot 47.4 percent from deep, but only 23.8 percent from the floor.
“And we finally got some shots to drop, which was such a breath of fresh air. It gave us a little bit of separation that kind of woke us up a little bit and got us going again.”
The Lions (22-2) made four of their nine treys in the third quarter, finishing with Jake Paulin’s swish to beat the buzzer for a 36-21 advantage. Senior DeAndre Jones and freshman Ellis Magnuson added two 3s apiece.
“We try to look for the best shot each possession, and sometimes we get open shots and they just don’t fall,” said Jones, who scored nine points with seven assists and six rebounds. “To see those shots fall is good.”
Capital (14-13), which plays Rocky Mountain in a loser-out game at 1:15 p.m. Friday, made a last-gasp effort in the fourth quarter when senior Cameron Daron was fouled on a made 3. Daron’s four-point play cut Borah’s lead to 44-38 with just over a minute to play.
“They made a great run, but this is the state tournament,” Cada said. “Our players knew that nobody was going to roll over.”
HIGHLAND 63, MOUNTAIN VIEW 52
Frost, the Highland coach, had a simple explanation for his team’s defensive adjustment in the second half.
“We actually played it,” he said with a smile.
Mountain View — the No. 4 seed from the Treasure Valley — came out firing. The Mavericks (14-11) made four 3-pointers in the first quarter and six in the first half for a 10-point halftime advantage.
“All week long all you heard is how, and (Mountain View) probably did, too, that they’re probably the weakest team here in the tournament,” Frost said. “We kept trying to convince our kids that they got here for a reason and they’re a pretty decent basketball team.
“If you think somebody’s going to come down and just lay down, you’re kind of full of it. They came out and really competed and got after us and kind of hit us in the face,” Frost said.
Mountain View led 40-29 with about 5 minutes left in the third quarter after senior guard Damen Thacker knocked down a jumper. The Mavericks then went a stretch of more than 6 minutes in the third and fourth quarters without a basket.
Highland (18-6) went on a 20-3 run that resulted in a 49-43 lead with 5:48 to play.
“Overall, I’m proud of the boys,” Mountain View coach Jon Nettleton said. “They came out and I think surprised a few and definitely competed with those guys.”
BYU signee Connor Harding led all scorers with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Mason Baker (17) and Cameron Cook (10) also reached double digits for the Rams.
Cameron Howard (18 points) and Thacker (17, eight rebounds) paced the Mavericks.
MADISON 67, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 41
Rocky Mountain held its ground in the first quarter, but Madison won the foot race in the final three frames for a spot in the 5A semifinals for the first time since 2010.
The Bobcats countered the Grizzlies’ size advantage with a fast-paced offense, which entered the tournament averaging 68.3 points per game.
“This team is pretty fast, and we’ve got to look to get it up and down. There’s no question,’’ said Hawkins, the Madison coach. “I think they feel really good. Of course, they played their hearts out. I just felt like they played with a lot of energy, and that’s the key, to have a motor and see what happens.”
Madison (21-2) reached the 4A state final in 2012 and last won a championship in 2011 as a 4A school. The Bobcats’ most recent 5A title came in 2007.
With a stable of athletic guards, the Bobcats dictated the pace, scoring from 3-point range on one possession before grabbing a steal for an easy layup on the next.
Madison held Rocky Mountain to a single field goal in the second quarter for a 31-16 advantage at the break.
By the time 6-foot-9 junior center Kolby Lee took over inside, it was too late for the Grizzlies (17-7). Lee, who has offers from Boise State, Utah State and Portland, scored a game-high 20 points with six rebounds.
“Because we weren’t making shots, we weren’t able to slow them down,” Rocky Mountain coach Dane Roy said. “It just kind of snowballed on us.”
Three Bobcats reached double figures, led by junior guard Jaxon Edelmayer’s 16 points. Senior Josh Crane — an Idaho State football signee at receiver — fell one rebound short of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards, and Mason Downey added 11 points.