As the old saying goes, you're good at what you practice.
If you practice playing checkers, you will be good at checkers.
If you practice playing Call of Duty, you will be good at Call of Duty.
And if you practice playing for Thunder Ridge coach Lee Toldson, you will be good at defense.
Toldson's Titans put on a defensive show against the visiting Blackfoot Broncos on Tuesday night, opening the new year with a 62-55 win at Thunder Ridge High School.
While the host Titans (5-5) were getting open look after open look on offense, the Broncos (5-3) were getting out-positioned in the paint and at the arc — shooting 31.8 percent (14 of 44) on the night.
"Coach works us hard in practice, and most of what we work on is defense," Thunder Ridge senior Bryson Hawkes said. "We're a defensive team first."
Blackfoot entered Tuesday's non-conference affair with just two losses — one to 5A power Rigby, and the other to 4A power Pocatello.
And while the Titans had three games over the past seven days, Blackfoot had been idle since December 18.
Blackfoot coach Clint Arave wouldn't blame the layoff, noting his team had bigger problems than rust.
"We've got to do better staying disciplined and try to be physical with the ball," Arave said. "We also let the officiating get to us a little bit, and at the same time Thunder Ridge was doing a good job hitting shots."
Hawkes did the best job hitting shots, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts (including two 3-pointers) and 5 of 6 free throws.
Hawkes led all scorers with 15, and teammates Nick Potter, Porter Brizzee and Tao Johnson added 13, 10 and 9, respectively.
In all, Thunder Ridge hit half of its 16 3-point attempts, recovering from an early first-quarter deficit to gradually pull away from the Broncos.
"We have a lot of unselfish guys on offense and we have learned that part of our game is build on being patient," Hawkes said. "We had a lot of extra passes and that got us open looks."
Colby Bodkin and Javonte King led the Broncos with 12 points each, followed by teammates Dylan Petersen (11) and Miles Toussaint (10).
Thunder Ridge will next play against Madison in Rexburg on Thursday night. Blackfoot will also be on the road, heading south to take on Preston.