The 5A Southern Idaho Conference started the girls basketball state tournament with a bang Thursday.
Four Treasure Valley teams won their opening-round games, setting up an all-SIC semifinals Friday at the Ford Idaho Center and ensuring the league will win its fourth state title in the past five years.
Eagle (20-5) battles Boise (18-6) in the opener at 6:15 p.m. Friday, followed by Mountain View (24-0) vs. Timberline (18-6) at 8 p.m.
[Related: 4A to 1A state roundup]
MOUNTAIN VIEW 79, MERIDIAN 43
Undefeated Mountain View has run roughshod over opponents all season long. But the Mavericks saved their most dominating performance for the first round of the state tournament.
Mountain View set a single-game team scoring record at the 5A state tournament with 79 points, running away with a 43-point blowout. It was the largest blowout at the 5A state tournament since Coeur d’Alene beat Meridian by 41 points in 2012 (68-27).
“I want to be that team this year that sets a lot of new records,” said Mountain View senior guard Darian White, a Montana State signee. “Not a lot of teams get to come into state being undefeated. Beating the record the first game and being undefeated, it’s a good start and a good statement for us.”
Meridian (14-13) and Mountain View traded blows in the first quarter. But Mountain View built a 13-point lead by halftime, then buried the Warriors in the third quarter, starting the frame on a 17-0 run.
Even with a 30-point lead and bench players rolling in, Mountain View never let up, sending a message to the rest of the state.
“We don’t want anybody to think we’re ever going to let off the gas no matter what team it is,” White said. “If they’re the worst team in our conference or the best team, we never want to let up.”
Mountain View dominated every facet of the game, shooting 48 percent from the floor while holding Meridian to 26 percent. The Mavericks also out-rebounded Meridian 44-25, including 19 offensive rebounds. They also forced 16 turnovers while committing just three themselves.
Word trickled down the Mountain View bench in the fourth quarter that Centennial owned the single-game scoring record with 75 points in 1994. That only added more fuel to the fire.
“Seventy five, you wouldn’t think it’s that hard, but then we just did it,” Mountain View sophomore Trinity Slocum said. “It’s exciting, but we’ve just got to keep pushing forward. Seventy five is just a number.”
White recorded game highs in points (18) and assists (six). Freshman forward Naya Ojukwu added 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. And Slocum finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists as the Mavericks showcased the depth that has made them unbeatable thus far.
No 5A team has finished the season perfect since Coeur d’Alene in 2009, and no Treasure Valley 5A team has gone undefeated since Meridian in 1983.
TIMBERLINE 48, HIGHLAND 40
Thursday could not have started worse for Timberline. The Wolves missed their first 11 shots from the floor, falling into a 9-0 hole. Then star guard Ava Ranson rolled her ankle in the third quarter and needed help to get off the court.
But Timberline turned to Ranson and its trademark defense to pull off its first state tournament win since 2004.
“We were reading all the press, and everything was going against us. And it always has,” Ranson said. “We’ve always been the underdog. We’ve always been against the odds, and I think that motivated us to pull off something great.”
Ranson personally pulled Timberline out of its early shooting funk, scoring eight points in the final two minutes of the first quarter as the Wolves ended the frame with a manageable 12-8 deficit. She didn’t stop there, finishing with a game-high 16 points while adding seven rebounds and two assists.
“She was the spark that got us going there,” Timberline coach Andy Jones said. “That’s what we needed. We needed a spark.”
But Ranson put a scare into the Timberline faithful midway through the quarter, turning her ankle after coming down from a jump pass. The crowd fell silent as it appeared her night, and season, were over.
Instead, she returned three minutes later. The hobbled Montana State commit scored two more points and provided an emotional lift down the stretch.
“I didn’t think I was going to come back either when it first happened,” Ranson said. “But this has happened quite a few times. So I was like, ‘No, there is no way I’m going to let this season slip or this game slip away from us.’
“I did everything I could to go back in. I did come back out slower, but I did my best to contribute to the game.”
Timberline nursed a 32-31 lead entering the fourth quarter. Then the Wolves put the clamps on Highland, holding it to 2-for-17 shooting and nine points over the final eight minutes to pull away.
Timberline limited Highland senior guard Makenna Baker, who was averaging 18.2 points per game this year, to two points on 0-for-15 shooting. Baker racked up seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. But the Rams struggled without her scoring.
EAGLE 63, LAKE CITY 52
Eagle’s shot at another deep state tournament run looked shaky after a sloppy third quarter Thursday.
Then Meghan Boyd came to the rescue.
The senior guard drained five consecutive 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, sparking a 20-4 run that led the No. 3-ranked Mustangs past No. 2 Lake City (20-4).
“She’s a great player, and we need her to score,” Eagle coach Cody Pickett said. “I’ve been saying this all along, when she gets going, she’s as good as anybody in the state.”
The win lifted Eagle into the state semifinals for the fourth straight year. It has finished as the state runner-up each of the past two seasons, leaving the Mustangs with plenty of unfinished business.
“Our goal is the same every year — get back to that title game and try to win it,” Boyd said.
Boyd finished with a game-high 22 points after a rough start. The University of Denver signee started the game 1-for-5 behind the 3-point line and took the blame for letting Lake City back in the game.
Eagle led the entire first half, but seven third-quarter turnovers allowed Lake City to take its first lead of the game. Boyd even attempted a behind-the-back pass on a fast break that would have given the Timberwolves another turnover had it not bounced off the defender’s foot.
Boyd hung her head for a moment, and then went to work personally burying Lake City. She was responsible for a 15-4 run herself with the five 3-pointers. And then with the defense stretched, Betsey King and Gabi Peters took advantage inside to make it a 20-4 run, extending Eagle’s lead to 15 points with 4:38 left in the game.
Only then did Pickett tell his sharpshooter to back off. She didn’t attempt another 3-pointer the rest of the way.
“If I would have let her keep shooting, she probably would have kept going,” Pickett said. “She has no conscience. And it would have got deeper and deeper, too.”
Jaimee McKinnie added 14 points, six rebounds and six steals for the Mustangs, and King finished with 12 points.
Klaire Mitchell led Lake City with 18 points, Bridget Rieken added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Brooklyn Rewers finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
BOISE 58, RIGBY 43
Boise has heard for two years how it’s too young. Even this season, the fourth-ranked Braves feature just three seniors.
But after being just happy to make the state tournament last year, Boise showed it’s a force to contend with by dominating East Idaho champ Rigby to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2016.
“Now there is more of an expectation for us to do well,” Boise junior guard Allie Guerricabeitia said. “We came out tonight and showed what we can do and who we are.”
Boise grabbed the lead early in the first quarter and never let it slip away, running away from the Trojans (18-8) with a 14-3 run to start the second half. The Braves dominated the paint, out-rebounding Rigby 44-29 and shooting 32 free throws to Rigby’s 10.
Peyton McFarland, a 6-4 junior post, controlled the game early, finishing the first half with 10 of her 12 points. When Rigby adjusted and packed the lane, Boise’s guards took over the second half.
Guerricabeitia scored 11 of her game-high and season-high 15 points in the second half. And sophomore Allison Ross scored nine of her 11 points in the final 16 minutes.
“Allie is a great shooter, and she is also a great attacker,” Boise coach Kim Brydges said. “She kind of sat back and let some other players step forward early. ... She’s had games like this. ... It’s great timing that she’s having those games right now.”