Bonneville High School girls basketball team head coach Amy Wood has frequently said thus far this season that defense creates offense for her team.
That mantra was evident in Tuesday’s game in a battle for the No. 1 spot in 4A District 6, a 67-43 win over Blackfoot.
A game that began basket-for-basket between the Bees (9-0, 5-0) and Broncos (9-2, 4-1) became an array of Bonneville steals, rebounding and fast breaks by late in the second quarter.
While there were moments in the game where both defenses shined and scoring droughts resulted, Bonneville had more points off turnovers.
“Blackfoot, they’re a good defensive team,” Wood said. “They caused us some trouble, especially in the second quarter. As soon as I got my team to take a breath, they went out there and executed.”
The Broncos matched the Bees basket-for-basket in the first two minutes of Tuesday’s game before Bonneville ended the first quarter on a 9-1 run to take a 17-8 lead. An Allie Cannon 3-pointer cut Blackfoot’s deficit to 19-13 with 5:37 left in the second quarter, prompting Wood to call the timeout to allow the Bees to take that collective breath. Upon returning to the court, the Bees went on to outscore the Broncos 11-7 to end the first half. The second quarter ended with a basket by Bonneville’s Sadie Lott at the buzzer to give the Bees a 30-20 lead and bring her first half total to 14 points.
Bonneville turned steal after steal into points in the third quarter, which ended with a 46-25 lead and two field goals for Blackfoot. The game ended with a high scoring fourth quarter in which Blackfoot’s Tenleigh Smith scored eight points and Maunayia Harrigfeld and Brooklyn Cunningham combined to make three 3-pointers.
Lott continued her fiery junior season with a 25-point night while Harrigfeld, Cunningham and Sage Leishman had 10 points each. Harrigfeld, who also had some contributions that didn’t show in the scorebook (blocks, offensive and defensive rebounds), said the Broncos are a familiar opponent. She and Lott and Cunningham played summer basketball on a team coached by Blackfoot head coach Courtnie Smith.
“We know how each other plays,” Harrigfeld said. “(Smith) threw a few new things at us tonight that I’ve never seen and made me go ‘whoa.’ It’s so weird (not being on the same team).”
In her fourth season as head coach for the Broncos, Smith said Tuesday’s final score was not reflective of Blackfoot’s defense this season.
“We came out timid,” Smith said. “We’re a better team than what the score showed. We haven’t allowed 70 points all year. A lot of shots that went in for us all year didn’t.”
While she acknowledged that the familiarity makes for fewer secrets about each other’s tendencies, Wood said she liked the sportsmanship displayed by both teams in a big game. Blackfoot’s Hadley Humpherys found Harrigfeld upon exiting the locker room to embrace her and say ‘good game’ to which Harrigfeld responded, ‘Good job, Had.’
“There was a lot of class on both ends of the floor,” Wood said.
Tenleigh Smith had 15 points while Humpherys added 13 points for Blackfoot, which hosts Thunder Ridge on Saturday. Bonneville plays Thursday at Madison.