The 5A Southern Idaho Conference’s top offense and defense met in a battle atop the standings Saturday at Rocky Mountain High. And as the old cliche goes, defense prevailed.
Borah suffocated Rocky Mountain’s potent attack, holding its 11th opponent under 40 points this season and forcing 16 turnovers in a 50-35 victory.
Despite an obvious size disadvantage, the Lions (15-1, 11-1 5A SIC) held Rocky Mountain to its lowest offensive output of the season. With the 6-foot-2 Jake Paulin guarding Rocky’s 6-9 center Kolby Lee, Borah denied entry passes to Lee with its quick guards and swarmed him with its helpside defense anytime he touched the ball.
Lee finished with a game-high 14 points and nine rebounds. But Rocky Mountain (12-4, 9-3) struggled to establish an offense around him, shooting 23.7 percent from the field.
“That’s the key to it, really,” Borah senior Rylan Bergersen said. “Make it tough, make it hard to get in there, deflect passes, make it hard to feed the post. And I think we did a really good job of it.”
A defensive slugfest started to give way in the third quarter. Rocky Mountain pulled within three when Jacob Erickson sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:50 left in the third. But Borah mounted a 9-1 run — highlighted by a Max Reitman 3-pointer and another from freshman Ellis Magnuson — and the Grizzlies never got any closer than nine points the rest of the night.
Magnuson finished with 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting behind the arc on a night Borah coach Cary Cada said the Lions struggled to convert on open shots.
“Ellis was huge tonight,” Cada said. “... We were getting the looks we wanted, but you have those nights. We weren’t shooting the ball well. In defense of that, defensively, we dug a little deeper and ground one out, and we’re better because of it.”
Bergesen led Borah with 13 points, DeAndre Jones finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Reitman added eight points.
While the night represented a low for Rocky Mountain, which entered averaging 61.7 points per game, it was right on par for Borah, which is allowing opponents 35.7 points per game.
The win marks Borah’s 10th straight since a Dec. 11 loss to Centennial, the only team to break the 45-point barrier against the Lions. Borah travels to Centennial on Thursday looking to avenge its only loss this season.
Winning with defense
Borah has won 10 straight games, thanks in part to the 5A SIC’s top defense.
4. Rocky Mtn.
7. Mtn. View