SHELLEY – One by one, the goals that the Blackfoot Lady Broncos set for themselves have been checked off the list. It hasn’t always been easy, but then again it shouldn’t be. When you are the defending state 4A girls’ basketball champions, there is a target on your back and everyone is going to give you their best shot.
That was the case when the Lady Broncos took their perfect 17-0 record on the road to Shelley to face the upstart Lady Russets and the Lady Russets made the Lady Broncos earn their win.
The Lady Russets came out on fire, especially senior Taylor Ottley, who was hitting from all over the floor and for the game canned six three-point shots. The Lady Broncos just didn’t seem to have an answer for the hot shooting, but they went about their business and countered in other ways.
Ottley made the Lady Broncos pay for not having covered her more closely early on, hitting for three long range jumpers in the first quarter, adding another pair of threes in the second quarter and just for good measure, added her sixth three-pointer of the night in the third for good measure. Ottley would total 19 points in the game for game-high honors.
The more balanced Lady Broncos stayed with their game plan of sharing the ball, placing four players in double figures and having one more just a point away as all the players were on top of their game.
Following an opening quarter where the Lady Broncos held a three-point advantage at 20-17, Blackfoot came right back with another quarter win at 11-9, but it was in the third quarter that Blackfoot would be able to break the game open with a 24-12 advantage, using their patented fast break and double high post offense to perfection. That got the entire team involved and there was no dropoff as the substitutes began to roll in for the Lady Broncos.
Shelley just had no answer for the bench players of Blackfoot and that ended up being the difference in the contest.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the game was out of reach for the Lady Russets and just proved how dominant the Lady Broncos have been this season as they have rolled up an 18-0 record on the year, with only three games remaining.
With the win, Blackfoot clinched no worse than a tie for the High Country Conference’s top seed in the upcoming District 6/High Country Conference tournament and need only to beat either Bonneville or Skyline to earn that top seed. The Lady Broncos will wrap up the season for senior night with a non-conference tilt against Century in a rematch of the top two teams in the Idaho a year ago.
If the Lady Broncos are playing at the level they showed on Wednesday night, it cannot be a good sign for the rest of the teams in Idaho as they are showing new dimensions from the team that stormed through the state tournament a year ago.
Next up for Blackfoot will be a Friday night game against Skyline in Blackfoot with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
For Shelley, it will be a Friday night contest on the road at Sugar-Salem for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
BLACKFOOT 20 11 24 18 — 73 SHELLEY 17 9 12 5 — 43
Shelley (43): Taylor Ottley, 19; Mia Williams, 5; Alexis Leckington, 1; Kia Madsen, Riley Wasden, Hailey Dye, Brinley Cannon, 15; B. Murdoch, 3
Blackfoot (73): Megan Evans, 2; Prairie Caldwell, 9; Marlee Pieper, 12; Izzy Arave, 5; Esperanza Vergara, 12; Kendylan Anderson, 5; Kianna Wright, 10; Whitney Christiansen, Riley Layton, 4; Aneka Dixey, Hadley Humpherys, 14