NAMPA — The avalanche unraveled in overwhelming fashion, baskets from Mountain View players who never seemed to miss, turnovers from Rigby guards who couldn’t maneuver the defending 5A champions’ clamps on the other end, losing turnovers around the basket and 30 feet from it.
Rigby had never been blitzed like this, never been shown the door quite like Friday’s 73-64 loss to Mountain View in the 5A state semifinals at the Idaho Center.
The Trojans’ defeat was shocking for its rarity. They arrived at this place by becoming one of the best teams in the state. They steamrolled through their regular-season schedule. Won the 5A District 5-6 tournament. Even won their state opener by 20.
That’s when Rigby ran into Mountain View, the team that has not finished worse than third place since 2017.
“They have the most talent of anybody we’ve played,” Rigby coach Troy Shippen said. “You take the big girl inside, (Naya Ojukwu), she’s legit. That’s the best post that I’ve faced ever.”
The Mavericks won on the backs of players like Ojukwu, who totaled a team-best 21 points, pairing nicely with Trinity Slocum, a Hawaii commit who added 12 points. They helped Mountain View produce 1.14 points per possession, a particularly gaudy figure.
Mountain View also connected on 7 of 17 shots from beyond the arc, which translates to an efficient 41%. D’Nia Williams, who pocketed 15 points, splashed 5 of 7 from distance.
This is what makes the Mavericks hard to beat. Their team features so few holes. They have the talent, the shooting, the athleticism that covers for the mistakes they might make. Good luck unseating a team with two Division I prospects.
What’s encouraging for the Trojans, who will play Coeur d’Alene at noon Saturday in the third-place game, is that they made a late fusillade that brought them close to doing so.
Rigby, which trailed by as many as 28, rattled off 15 straight points in the fourth, drawing as close as the final margin of nine. Senior Tylie Jones produced a game-best 24 points, including 10 in the fourth. The Trojans poured in 29 points in the fourth frame alone. They won the second half, 49-34.
“Instead of being passive, just trying take away the inside,” Shippen said, “we were trying to be aggressive on the perimeter defensively, trying to take things away from them — instead of sitting back and trying to stop (Ojukwu). That helped us the second half.”
Still, squaring the rally against the backdrop of the entire game is more difficult. Mountain View pulled a few starters when the lead swelled to nearly 30, which is when Rigby kicked off the comeback. If the Trojans got another crack at the Mavericks, Shippen said, they might have a chance.
If such a world existed, Rigby would likely want to start better.
Mountain View unleashed a furious attack in the first frame. The Mavericks seized a 16-2 lead before the Trojans registered their first field goal of the game, a layup from Hadley Good, who logged six points. Still, that trimmed the deficit to 12. The Trojans were staring down the barrel of an enormous lead.
They couldn’t make dents that mattered, in large part, because they couldn’t get stops. Rigby’s second basket of the night came from Kambree Barber, who scored nine points, but Mountain View followed with 10 straight. The Mavericks’ lead was 27-6.
The Trojans didn’t notch their season low in points, not even close, but it looked headed that way in this first half. Nothing remotely similar had ever happened to this team. It rocked a Rigby known for its consistency.
“It was tough. It was tough for them,” Shippen said. “But they’re resilient. They bounced back. They didn’t give up. We could have given up, but they didn’t. They bounced back, fought hard.”
Rigby’s next challenge, its final one of the season, will be doing so against Coeur d’Alene on Saturday.
The Vikings are in the third-place game because they fell to Thunder Ridge Friday afternoon. In truth, they have lost just two games this season, both to the Titans.
Rigby will try to hand Coeur d’Alene its third loss without the services of two key cogs. Starting guard Naomi Nunez, who left Friday’s game with a meniscus injury in a knee that already sported a brace, and Hallie Boone, who played sparingly on Thursday with her own knee injury.
Nunez’s injury is serious, according to Shippen, who confirmed it wasn’t an ACL tear. She is a starter for a reason, though. Her team will miss her in its final outing on Saturday.
“That’s a big thing coming from a hard loss,” Shippen said. “Right now, their spirits are up. They’re feeling good. We still want to bring home a trophy.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW 73, RIGBY 64
Rigby 4 11 20 29 — 64
Mountain View 16 23 15 19 — 73
RIGBY — Naomi Nunez 1, Tylie Jones 24, Camryn Williams 3, Victoria Briggs 3, Kambree Barber 9, Hadley Good 6, Brooke Donnelly 10, Anastasia Kennedy 4, Brooklyn Youngstrom 4.
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Sierra Grizzle 12, Demi Thompson 1, Natalie Oyer 2, Naya Ojukwu 21, D’Nia Williams 15, Trinity Slocum 12, Millie Brunner 10.