RIGBY — On one occasion, Naomi Nunez laid in an easy two. On another, Brooke Donnelly spun into the lane for an open floater. After that, Donnelly converted a layup and Nunez splashed a triple.
If those baskets came easy to Rigby Wednesday night against Idaho Falls, the Trojans must have had a blast on defense. They shut out the Tigers in the first frame. In the first half, they forced the visitors into several more turnovers than made shots.
Rigby never had much trouble at all dispatching Idaho Falls, 73-34, racing to a fast start and cruising the rest of the way to a lopsided conference win.
“The girls were excited to play, and they came out firing on offense,” Rigby coach Troy Shippen said. “They shot really well, and the defensive intensity was really high. Things just kind of went our way tonight.”
The story of the first quarter was the story of the rest of the game. The Tigers (3-10, 0-4) never really produced much offense — 15 turnovers outnumbered their 13 made shots — and even when they did, Rigby countered nearly every time.
Donnelly and Tylie Jones spearheaded the Rigby offense, scoring 19 and 16 points, respectively. They were most active early, helping the Trojans race to such an enormous lead in the first frame.
It wasn’t just how much the Trojans (11-2, 5-0) scored, though. It was how they did it. Not only did 11 players produce points, but they connected on 7 of 17 3-pointers, including two apiece from Donnelly and Victoria Briggs, and three other players with one. The Tigers never seemed to catch on, either. Lots of those looks were wide open.
“That was one of our best shooting games of the year,” Shippen said. “They’re a good shooting team. We’ve struggled shooting the ball in some of our games, but they’ve been focusing on that in practice.”
In some ways, though, this result shouldn’t come as a surprise. These teams entered Wednesday on entirely different ends of the 5A District 5-6 spectrum. Rigby entered tied for the No. 1 spot in the 5A coaches' poll, while Idaho Falls now has not won in more than a month.
It wasn’t hard to spot the differences on the court. Rigby easily forced turnovers and raced the other way for layups, including three straight times in the first frame. One, from Jones, resulted in an and-one.
Meanwhile, Idaho Falls struggled to generate offense, both in transition and in the half court. Calyn Wood tallied a team-best 16 points, but 10 of those came in the second half, when the outcome was effectively decided. No other Tiger registered more than four points.
Which prompts a question — was that good Rigby defense or bad Idaho Falls offense?
The answer might not involve either option.
“It is hard, emotionally and mentally, to say, ‘I want to finish the game,’” Idaho Falls coach David Vest said, referencing his team’s lethargic start. “The trick is to try to lift them and find the moments that you do well and focus on those. We’re going to see them again.”
Either way, Rigby will take the win. The Trojans have now won four straight and 12 of their last 13. They’re torching opponents in those games, too. They haven’t won a game by single digits since Dec. 9.
Their next opportunity to do so comes Friday, in a road test against a hot Blackfoot team. The game is a non-conference tilt, to be sure, but it may provide a litmus test for both sides.
Idaho Falls, meanwhile, will host Shelley on Friday. The Russets have just two wins this season, so this may supply the Tigers a chance to snap the worst kind of streak.
Is that the case?
“It is,” Vest said. “But everyone we play is good. When we played Shelley last time, it was a six-point game, so we’ve got to come in with a mindset that we’ve got to put the work in. Nothing’s going to be handed to us. I think if we will do that and take our opportunities when they come, I think we’ll be OK.”
RIGBY 73, IDAHO FALLS 34
Idaho Falls 0 12 12 10 — 34
Rigby 17 22 21 13 — 73
IDAHO FALLS — Alexis Lang 4, Sydnee Stohl 3, Abbey Corgatelli 2, Calyn Wood 16, Kennedy Robertson 4, Sydney Hess 4, Aubree Duffin 1
RIGBY — Naomi Nunez 4, Tylie Jones 16, Hallie Boone 3, Camryn Williams 3, Victoria Briggs 6, Kambree Barber 6, Hadley Good 6, Brooke Donnelly 19, Anastasia Kennedy 4, Kylie Jones 2, Brooklyn Youngstrom 4.