There's officially a new contender in the 5A District 5-6 race.
The Thunder Ridge boys basketball team returned some talent this season, including one of the area's most prolific scorers in Lloyer Driggs, but the third-year program still had to prove itself against the conference's perennial powers, namely Madison and Rigby.
The Titans took a big step Friday night, downing Madison in a championship-caliber game, pulling out a thriller, 53-50 in overtime.
It was the first win for the Titans over the Bobcats in school history and it puts Thunder Ridge on top of the 5A District 5-6 standings with two regular-season games remaining. The Titans are in the driver's seat with games against Rigby and Idaho Falls remaining.
The Titans already have wins over the Trojans and Tigers. Madison was the last team to beat Thunder Ridge back on Jan. 21. That was another nail-biter with the Bobcats prevailing 57-54.
"It's going to be a crazy district tournament," Madison coach Travis Schwab said.
Friday's matchup featured two of the district's top scoring threats in Driggs and Madison's Taden King. Driggs got the better of the matchup with 25 points, and dominated the closing minutes of the second quarter to pull the Titans within 24-23 at the half after a slow start.
Two quick baskets by Thunder Ridge to start the third quarter had the spirited home crowd riled up and the back-and-forth contest heated up down the stretch.
Madison led 48-43 with 1:18 left, but Driggs got inside for a layup. The Titans got the ball in the closing seconds.
As expected, Thunder Ridge set up a play for Driggs, but it broke down and sophomore Nick Potter found himself with the ball on the left side and calmly nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game with five seconds left.
"He's not afraid to step up in the moment and that's why he's out there with those guys," Thunder Ridge coach Lee Toldson said, adding that if the Titans are going to make some noise in the postseason, everyone will have to step up.
Junior Tao Johnson stepped up on the defensive end, holding King to seven points.
Madison (16-4, 5-2) is always driven by its defensive prowess, and had stretches where it slowed Driggs, but the Titan senior made enough key plays to keep the team in the game and four other players added at least six points.
"He came up big for us when we needed him the most," Toldson said of Driggs, who was 11 of 22 from the field with three 3-pointers.
"Our game plan wasn't to shut Lloyer down because he's too good to shut down," Schwab said, noting the key was to challenge the other players and it was Potter with the big shot.
Even so, the Bobcats had their chances in overtime, but missed free throws put them in a hole. Down 53-50 with three seconds left, Johnson was able to poke the ball away and force the game-ending turnover and set off a Titan celebration.
Thunder Ridge (16-3, 5-1) host Rigby on Wednesday. Madison hosts Highland in its final regular-season game on Wednesday.
THUNDER RIDGE 53, MADISON 50 (OT)
Madison 13 11 15 9 2 — 50
Thunder Ridge 9 14 17 8 5 — 53
MADISON — Logan Crane 2, Tyson Lerwill 13, Rhett Hathaway 3, Riley Sutton 3, Isaac Wilson 3, Braxton Pierce 7, Taden King 7, Eli Randall 12.
THUNDER RIDGE — Lloyer Driggs 25, Tao Johnson 6, Tyler Godfrey 8, Nick Potter 6, Jay Scoresby 2, Porter Harris 6.