Less than a week after several area boys basketball teams celebrated success at the state tournament, including bringing home three state championship trophies, the high school basketball season finally came to a close Wednesday night at the District 6 Senior Showcase at Bonneville High.
Seniors from boys and girls teams spanning Divisions 1A to 5A competed in spirited games — the final game for most of the players — and also got a chance to fire off shots in a co-ed 3-point contest and show off some style in a slam dunk competition.
Overall, the final scores didn’t matter much in the four games. Girls from Divisions 1A, 2A and 3A competed against each other, as did the boys. Girls and boys in 4A-5A faced each other.
“It allows us to relax and breathe and play pickup style basketball,” said Madison’s Kyle Jackson, noting the disappointment of losing in the 5A state title game still lingered and the Showcase experience provided a good release. “We love doing it. It’s awesome to hang out with your friends and teammates and play basketball.”
Jackson won the dunk contest with an impressive between-the-legs setup and slam on his final attempt. He was also part of a 4A-5A West team that fell 117-104 to the East team in typical all-star fashion, where defense was not a priority as 3-point shots flew though the air with ease, each one seemingly from farther out on the court than the last attempt. Dunking was also a theme, as missed alley-oops and basketballs clanking off rims in failed attempts brought smiles and the occasional head shake.
But none of that mattered after the game as Jackson and his four other Bobcat teammates and West coach Travis Schwab took pictures and chatted with friends and family.
Jackson said he was nervous before the dunk contest, but took advantage of going last in the finals.
“I tried to keep it simple at the start, because I knew I had to save some of my stuff toward the end,” Jackson said.
The Sugar-Salem girls team captured a 3A state championship this season and had four players in Wednesday’s 1A/2A/3A game.
“It was awesome to be able to play with them one last time,” said Macie Knapp. “We have so much chemistry from playing together for so long, it was just super fun.”
Knapp still has at least one game remaining. She said she’ll play in the 16th annual Idaho Statewide All-Star Game at North Idaho College on March 23, but she’ll be the lone Digger player.
Madi Fillmore, Lindsey Larsen and Sydney Bradshaw played their last games for Sugar-Salem.
“It was fun to be able to do whatever we wanted and not have to run offense or worry … we just played,” Knapp said.
Perhaps the most entertaining game of the night was the 1A/2A/3A boys game. The anticipated matchup between Ririe’s Michael Ure and North Fremont’s Garrett Hawkes never really materialized. Instead it was Ririe teammate Larz Sutton who put on a show, scoring 27 points and providing a burst of energy to the East team. Landon Bowman of Watersprings showed off his range with a barrage of 3-pointers from well past the arc, and Clark County’s Oscar Mendoza had the shot of the game, spinning in the lane past Hawkes for a scoop layup. That was until Garrett Millick of Challis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game for the East, 87-84.
Rigby had five players in the 4A/4A/5A girls game, a fact that was bittersweet for coach Troy Shippen, whose daughter Emma was one of the seniors. She is his youngest child.
“It was fun to be with them one more time, and the other girls in the area,” coach Shippen said.
Shippen teared up when asked about his daughter.
“It is bittersweet,” he said.
6th District Basketball Officials Sportsmanship Award Recipients
Emma Shippen, Rigby
Jaden Schwab, Madison
Grayson Nelson, Firth
Jordi Holdaway, West Jefferson
Steven Ellis Memorial Award
Curtis Drake, Sugar-Salem
Maunayia Harrigfeld, Bonneville