No question about it, the snow was falling for fans of Sugar-Salem boys basketball Tuesday night.
The Diggers’ second quarter shots, however, were doing no such thing during a 59-47 loss to Vallivue at Idaho Falls High School on Day 1 of the East Idaho Holiday Shootout tournament.
After opening an early 6-3 lead, Sugar-Salem went as cold as a December wind, missing 16 of its next 21 field goal attempts and four of six free throw attempts.
That 6-3 lead turned into a 31-18 halftime deficit, as the Falcons hit 7 of 12 in the first half, including four 3 pointers.
“We were missing easy layups, free throws, didn’t rebound well,” Sugar-Salem coach Shawn Freeman said. “Vallivue is a good team, played well, and took advantage.”
The two teams played even from there, with each making mini runs.
The score remained in the low to mid-double digits throughout the second half, however — the damage done to Sugar-Salem’s hopes over the first 16 minutes.
Sugar-Salem senior Toby Pinnock led the Diggers with 12 points, including 10 of his team’s 18 first half points.
Senior Boyd Sorenson added nine, all in the fourth quarter, and junior Koy Sanderson added eight.
Vallivue senior guard Jacob Martinez led all scorers with 22, and teammates Jace Martinez and Jakin Calhoun added 13 and 9, respectively.
In all, Vallivue hit 52% from the field (14 of 27) and 56%(5 of 9 from 3-point range. Conversely, Sugar-Salem was 40% from the field (16 of 40) and 22 percent (2 of 11) from deep.
For Sugar (4-4), the opener against Vallivue (4-2) was both a chance to shake off some holiday rust, as well as work on various strategies against unfamiliar opponents, Freeman said.
The way things shook out Tuesday against the 4A Falcons allowed the Diggers to get workable film on its late-game press, perimeter defense, and transition game.
But when the ball ain’t gonna drop, it just ain’t gonna drop.
“Holiday tournaments are always interesting, and we’re really happy to get to be part of this as a 3A team,” Freeman said. “Right now our chemistry is a big thing and we need to communicate better and be more vocal. When that happens, we will learn what we have, and what our potential can be.”
Vallivue will play again today against the winner of Skyline and Spring Creek (Nev.), and Sugar-Salem will get the loser of that same game. Both games will be at Skyline.
Note: For scores from the East Idaho Holiday Shootout tournament check postregister.com/sports.