The Meridian High boys basketball program has shown flickers of promise this winter, only to settle into an up-and-down season.
But the young Warriors reminded the entire 5A Southern Idaho Conference what they are capable of Friday, knocking off Mountain View 56-53 at Meridian High behind a barrage of 3-pointers in the 13th annual Stinky Sneaker rivalry game.
Meridian (12-7, 8-6 5A SIC) trailed by seven at halftime before draining 7-of-9 3-pointers in the third quarter. The Warriors had 27 points in the quarter, taking a five-point lead into the fourth and never trailing again.
“That’s not a surprise,” Meridian junior guard Javen Woodall said. “We shoot like that all the time. We just haven’t been shooting well (lately).”
Meridian connected only once on seven 3-point attempts in the first half, and the Warriors compounded their shooting struggles with 10 turnovers. But after coach Jeff Sanor implored his team to stop hesitating at halftime, the Warriors caught fire behind the arc and committed only two turnovers in the second half.
Woodall led the third-quarter surge, sinking three 3-pointers, including one on the Warriors’ first possession. He finished with a team-high 17 points.
“That’s Javen,” Sanor said. “Javen is hands down one of the best high school shooters I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s just Javen playing like Javen can play.”
Spencer Fair, who was bedridden with the flu the past three days, added 11 points and three assists. College of Idaho commit Jalen Galloway led Mountain View (12-6, 10-4) with 19 points.
Mountain View cut the lead to one point three times down the stretch, but Meridian made 4-of-6 free throws in the final 62 seconds to snap a four-game losing streak to the Mavericks and keep their chances of a first-round bye at the district tournament alive.
The top four teams in the 5A SIC standings advance straight to the district quarterfinals, skipping the play-in round. Mountain View would have clinched the fourth and final bye with a win Saturday, but Meridian’s upset keeps the Warriors in the hunt, two games behind the Mavericks with two games remaining.
Boise, Borah and Rocky Mountain have all clinched byes.
Meridian closes the season at No. 1-ranked Boise on Tuesday and home against Columbia on Thursday. It needs to win both games to qualify for a bye. But a young Warriors team that includes just one senior starter already has knocked off Boise and added Mountain View to its list of upset victims.
“I think we’ve got guys that are really hungry for wins, and sometimes they try to get after the wins a little too fast,” Sanor said. “They try to make things happen a little too quickly. Today, we did a really good job of keeping our composure and letting the plays come to us.”
Mountain View’s Halladay honored again
Mountain View sophomore Lexy Halladay extended her sweep of Idaho’s Gatorade athlete of the year awards this week, winning the 2017-18 girls cross country runner of the year honor. It’s the third straight Gatorade award Halladay has won after winning both the cross country and track athlete honors as a freshman.
Halladay won back-to-back 5A state cross country titles last fall at 17 minutes, 50.44 seconds, 15.14 seconds ahead of second place. She is a reigning 5A state track champion in the 1,600, 3,200 and 4x400 relay, setting state records in the 1,600 and 3,200. And she won the adidas Girls’ Dream Mile, one of the top races in the nation, last June.
“Lexy was a dominant force in the Northwest this fall,” Meridian coach Rusty McCrea said in a release. “She is not only the best cross country runner in the state, but arguably the best in our region.”