Wednesday night just kept getting better and better for Borah High’s Austin Bolt.
The junior forward sank the last-second, game-winning layup as the No. 4 Lions upset No. 1-ranked Rocky Mountain 48-46. Then after the game at Borah High, Utah State Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford delivered Bolt his first Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offer.
“It’s probably the most memorable night (I’ve had),” said Bolt, who finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
The night started with a flurry of steals in the first quarter, one of which led to a one-handed dunk. But Bolt saved his best for last as he kept the Lions in the two-team race for a 5A Southern Idaho Conference regular-season title. Rocky Mountain (17-2, 15-1 5A SIC) and Borah (15-3, 14-2) are the only two teams capable of winning the league title with two games left.
Rocky Mountain led by seven points entering the fourth quarter, and the Grizzlies’ bounty of long, athletic bigs had kept Borah’s double-double machine relatively in check with several blocked shots.
But Bolt took over the fourth quarter, scoring seven of the frame’s first nine points all on reverse layups under the basket to cut the lead to two. He converted an and-one free throw in the sequence, too.
“He’s contagious, and he’s relentless,” Borah coach Jeremy Dennis said. “He doesn’t back down. That’s one of the great strengths about him.
“... You can’t describe it. His ability to rebound is a knack. You can’t teach it. He just has it. And he’s probably going to be a D-I football player.”
Rocky Mountain’s Briggs Ranstrom tied the game at 46 with a pair of free throws with 14.7 seconds left. But instead of calling a timeout, Dennis opted to let Bolt and senior point guard Ellis Magnuson create in the full court.
The move paid off as Magnuson found a cutting Bolt for the game-winning layup with 5.2 seconds left. Borah then survived two potential game-winning shots to extend its home winning streak to 21 games.
Bolt’s performance may have impressed Utah State’s Sanford, a former Boise State quarterback and offensive coordinator. But for the Lions, it was just another day at the office for Bolt, who entered averaging 15.1 points and a league-leading 11.3 rebounds.
“It’s definitely easy when we can just pass the ball to him in the post, and he’ll just go to work,” Magnuson said. “We know he can get a bucket anytime.
“It’s also great defensively. He rebounds and he’s so long. He helps us out so much. We don’t even need to get rebounds really. He just gets all of them.”
Bolt (6-4, 195 pounds) said Utah State is recruiting him to fill its flex wide receiver/tight end position. The all-state receiver also has an offer from Idaho.
The upset added another chapter in the budding rivalry between the 5A SIC’s top two boys basketball programs. Two-time defending state champ Rocky Mountain had won six of the past seven meetings against the Lions. Borah evened the season series Wednesday. But both sides expect to meet again at district or state — or both.
“Now we know we can beat them for sure,” Bolt said. “... Now, when we go to district and state, we know how to game plan for them.”