NAMPA — Rigby’s weapons always lent themselves to state tournament games, the types whose winners are the ones who can beat you a multitude of ways: With defense, with shooting, with passing, with smarts.
The Trojans proved it all season. They won regular-season games with scoring deluges and captured district wins with defensive clampings. Tylie Jones and Brooke Donnelly provide the scoring punch and Kambree Barber and Anastasia Kennedy supply the defensive acumen. Everyone can do most everything, too, which strengthens the team in ways other teams can’t match.
Rigby taught Post Falls that lesson the hard way, securing a 56-36 win Thursday evening in the first round of the 5A state tournament at Nampa’s Idaho Center.
“I thought we were a little nervous for those first three or four minutes,” Rigby coach Troy Shippen said, “but after that, they settled down. I thought they really played with a lot of tenacity that game.”
Rigby will play Mountain View at 7 p.m. in Friday’s semifinals.
In several senses, the win showed why Rigby is in position to make a run deep in this state tournament. Jones led her team with 15 points and seven rebounds. Donnelly cashed two triples for 10 points. Barber totaled 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting outing.
It wasn’t just that. Rigby also totaled 22 bench points. That’s important on its own merits, but particularly this time of year.
“Our bench has been phenomenal all year,” Shippen said. “It’s kind of hard to scout, because we’ve got our starting five, then we’ve got five more that come in, and they’re all different players. So how do you scout each one of them? Sometimes, they’re taking chances on our bench, and our bench has really been producing for us.”
Together, they limited Post Falls to just 29% shooting and 14 turnovers. It managed just 16 points in the second half, four in the fourth quarter.
More importantly, no Post Falls player reached double figures. The club’s leading scorer, Hanna Christensen, logged just seven points. Two of those came on free throws. Three others posted six points, but they combined to shoot just 7-for-20, which translates to 35%.
Now, Rigby has held six of its last eight opponents to 40 points or fewer.
“Our goal was to contest every shot,” Shippen said. “Last year, we come here, they shot 70-something percent from the 3-point line. So we were going to contest every shot. We don’t have to block them — just contest them.”
It worked wonders. Post Falls connected on just 4 of 16 long balls. In the second half, it made just 2 of 10.
Meanwhile, Rigby hit an efficient 3-for-9 from distance. Donnelly splashed both of her attempts. Ditto for Barber. Rigby shot an uncharacteristically low number of 3-pointers. It didn’t matter because it could get most any shot it wanted.
Still, doing so on Friday will pose more of a challenge.
Shippen admitted he didn’t know much about semifinal opponent Mountain View. The Mavericks advanced with a 65-52 win over Timberline on Thursday. Rigby will also have to defend point guard Trinity Slocum, but outside of that, Shippen said he’ll have to do some research and watch some film.
That’s the challenge of playing this time of year.
“They’re very talented. Super talented,” Shippen said. “They’ve got a lot of talent on their team, so we’ll have our hands full tomorrow.”
RIGBY 56, POST FALLS 36
Post Falls 8 12 12 4 — 36
Rigby 12 21 13 10 — 56
POST FALLS — Skilar McLean 2, Trinidie Nichols 6, Dylan Lovett 6, Capri Sims 6, Americus Crane 2, Brielle Magnuson 3, Maya Blake 4, Hanna Christensen 7.
RIGBY — Naomi Nunez 2, Tylie Jones 15, Camryn Williams 2, Victoria Briggs 4, Kambree Barber 10, Hadley Good 6, Brooke Donnelly 11, Anastasia Kennedy 2, Brooklyn Youngstrom 4.