BLACKFOOT – The 4A District 6 tournament began on Tuesday night, but it didn't start off the way the Blackfoot Broncos expected.
Blackfoot, seeded third, fell to the fourth-seeded Grizzlies 53-51 win to put the Broncos into the elimination side of the bracket after the first round of play.
Raleigh Shippen scored the first 16 points for the Grizzlies and finished with 25 points.
On the defensive end, Skyline's 6-foot-7 post player Landon Merzlock set up in the middle of the defense and forced the Broncos to alter their shots and avoid the lane when driving.
Merzlock got the needed rebounds, found a way to score eight points and was a force under the basket.
“We started Landon to get some additional senior leadership and he gave us that,” Skyline coach Clint Cornish said. “We had been starting Kenyon Sadiq, a sophomore and he had played well, we just wanted that senior leadership on the floor and Landon sure gave us that. He also had some MVP-type blocks on drives that were a real difference maker.”
Fouls began to catch up with the Broncos and by halftime, both Carter Layton and Ja'Vonte King had three fouls and were headed to the bench, while the Grizzlies were feeding Shippen who would have 18 points by the intermission.
Blackfoot tied the game at 46-46 in the closing minutes, but a 3-pointer by Keegan Maas gave the Grizzlies a lead, and it was enough to hold on.
Skyline plays at second-seeded Bonneville on Thursday and Blackfoot faces Shelley in a consolation game on Thursday.
SKYLINE 53, BLACKFOOT 51
Skyline 14 13 10 16 -- 53
Blackfoot 15 10 9 17 -- 51
SKYLINE -- Christean Thomas 6, Keegan Maas 3, Raleigh Shippen 25, Cade Marlow 9, Issac Farnsworth 2, Landon Merzlock 8.
BLACKFOOT -- Jaxon Ball 3, Canon Dahle 5, Jace Grimmett 8, Jaden Harris 8, Ja'Vonte King 19, Carter Layton 5, Dylan Peterson 3