IDAHO FALLS – It was the second straight game for the Blackfoot Lady Broncos, where they were facing elimination from the 4A District 6 girls’ basketball tournament following their opening loss to Skyline last Thursday.
It was also the second straight game where they came out of the locker room with a mission in mind and went about their game with a very businesslike manner that left the Hillcrest Lady Knights shaking their heads as they left the floor.
The Lady Broncos left little doubt in this game Monday, feeding their workhorse, Hadley Humpherys, with the ball trip after trip down the floor and she responded with a strong 20-point, 10-rebound effort in leading the Blackfoot quintet to a dominating 20-point win by the final of 55-35 and extending their season by another game, this one with a state tournament berth on the line on Tuesday night when they faced the Skyline Grizzlies, the same team that sent them to the left side of the bracket nearly a week ago.
The game Monday may have started off as a battle, where the two teams were trading baskets early, but the emphasis of the Lady Broncos was on the inside, where Tenleigh Smith repeatedly got the ball to the inside to Humpherys and fellow post Gracie Anderson and the two were both very successful in putting the ball in the basket. They were also drawing fouls and were cashing in at the free throw line as well. In addition to Humpherys’ 20 points, Anderson was able to connect for 12 as the Broncos established their offense early on.
The first quarter may have been tied at 13 when the buzzer sounded, but the game plan was in place and was working.
The second quarter saw the Lady Knights using the three-point shot to stay within striking distance, but the Broncos’ game plan was wearing the Hillcrest team down slowly and it was beginning to show as the Lady Knights were piling up the fouls and were in danger of being in some serious foul trouble.
When the two teams went to halftime, the Lady Broncos had established a three-point lead at 27-24 and were awaiting their halftime adjustments, and did they have an effect on the game.
“We went four guards and one post, which made us a little bit quicker,” Blackfoot coach Courtnie Smith said. “We came out in the third quarter, had some huge stops, then we kind of got rolling offensively.”
Got rolling offensively may have been a bit of an understatement as the Lady Broncos were soon on cruise control and were piling up the points, which, when combined with the defense, soon led to a nine-point advantage, 39-30, as they went to the final stanza.
The fourth quarter was more of the same and the Lady Broncos’ substitution pattern worked to perfection as they got meaningful minutes from Kanna Wright and Taylor Smith who stepped up the defensive pressure and kept the Lady Broncos rolling.
BLACKFOOT 55, HILLCREST 35
Blackfoot 13 14 12 14 — 55
Hillcrest 13 11 6 5 — 35
Blackfoot — Tenleigh Smith 11, Isabelle Arave 2, Praire Caldwell 3, Taylor Smith 2, Kianna Wright 2, Kristen Thomas 3, Gracie Andersen 12, Hadley Humpherys 20.
Hillcrest — Jones 8, M. Larsen 9, T. Larsen 3, Cushing 2, Parker 1, A. Cook 8, B. Cook 4.