The Borah High boys basketball team cruised through the regular season.
The Lions finished the regular season atop the state media poll for six straight weeks. They routed eastern Idaho’s two state qualifiers early in the season. And they dispatched all challengers entering the 5A District Three championship — except for one.
The second-ranked Patriots swept two regular-season meetings with Borah. But the Lions earned revenge Friday on their home court with a 43-32 victory to win their third district title in five years.
“Knowing that we’ve struggled the first two times we played them and have learned from what we did wrong and improved on that this time,” Borah senior point guard DeAndre Jones said, “it’s good to know going into the state tournament that we’re a good team and we can beat anyone.”
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Borah (21-2) will open the 5A state tournament at 1:15 p.m. Thursday at the Ford Idaho Center. It’ll face the winner of Saturday’s state play-in game between Capital (13-12) and Post Falls (16-8).
Centennial (20-4) already secured its state berth, and it’ll face Northern Idaho champ Lewiston (14-8) at 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
With the Patriots holding a size advantage, Borah settled for 3-pointers throughout the night. The Lions finished 5-for-25 behind the arc, including 1 for their first 11. But Jones, who scored a game-high 19 points, took over the final four minutes of the first half. He drained a pair of 3-pointers from the left wing and scored the final 10 points on Borah’s 13-4 run to close the first half.
“I’ve seen DeAndre do that so many times in basketball games where he’ll just uncork two or three 3s in a row,” Borah coach Cary Cada said. “It certainly changes the complexion of the game.”
Borah carried that momentum into the second half, where it held Centennial scoreless for the opening 6 minutes, 58 seconds of the third quarter and outscored the Patriots 10-3 in the frame.
Centennial cut the lead to five points when Kendall Williams converted a fastbreak layup with 3:46 left. But 63 seconds later, the 5-10 Jones drew a charge on Centennial’s 6-8 center Connor Desaulniers — Desaulniers’ fifth foul — and the Patriots never drew any closer.
“The first half we gave up (20 points). We knew if we were going to win, we’d have to play better defense in the second half,” said Jones, whose team is holding opponents to a 5A SIC-low 37.3 points per game.
Despite a big size advantage, Centennial struggled to establish a post presence as Desaulniers picked up two fouls in the first quarter and sat the rest of the first half. Delveion Jackson led Centennial with nine points, while Talon Pinckney and Brooks King each added six.
“Our kids, they’re pretty resilient,” Centennial coach Josh Aipperspach said. “Tonight, we didn’t play well. Give Borah credit. They did some good things. But like I told the kids, the big prize is still there.”
Off to state
Thirteen Treasure Valley boys basketball teams have punched their tickets to state next week. Six more will try to qualify via play-in games Saturday.
▪ 5A: Borah (21-2), Centennial (20-4), Mountain View (14-10), Rocky Mountain (17-6)
▪ 4A: Bishop Kelly (14-5), Middleton (10-13)
▪ 3A: Emmett (14-9), Parma (13-11)
▪ 2A: Melba (18-4), Nampa Christian (15-7)
▪ 1A Div. I: Ambrose (22-2), Liberty Charter (15-9)
▪ 1A Div. II: Council (20-3)