RIGBY — Some people will do anything for Throwback Thursday.
With the 5A District 5-6 girls basketball title on the line, the Highland Rams started hot and held off a raucous Rigby rally Tuesday night, outlasting the Trojans 49-42 to force a Thursday title rematch.
The game will be the fifth meeting between the two teams this season, putting the “T” in #TBT.
“I love playing against this (Rigby) team, because they play at a high level,” Highland senior Kimberly Hawes said. “Us seniors are looking forward to getting a chance to go home and win it there. To win it at home in our gym.”
Highland won it at Rigby’s gym for the second time this season, sweeping the regular-season series before falling to Rigby earlier in the district bracket.
Unlike the regular season win, however, Tuesday’s game was defined by monumental waves of excellence and futility.
Rigby senior Kenadee French hit a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter to give the Trojans a 3-2 lead, but Rigby missed its next 15 field goal attempts over a 10-minute scoring drought.
On the other end of the court, Highland played classic Highland basketball, running set plays and taking advantage of open looks to take a 20-3 lead with two minutes left in the half.
Rigby saved a little first half face, however, scoring nine of the game’s next 12 to roll into the break down 23-12.
“We were ice cold. Ice cold,” Rigby coach Troy Shippen said. “But the girls fought back from that and played tough to the end, and that says something about who we are.”
Rigby opened the second half the way it ended the first, ripping off a 17-6 run that culminated in a 31-31 tie with one minute left in the quarter. In all, 20 of Rigby’s 42 points came in the third.
Highland sophomore Meghan Calley punched back with a 3-pointer to break the tie, and nailed another triple to start the fourth.
While the Rams were getting some breathing room, Rigby slipped back into its shooting doldrums, getting just four points over the quarter’s first 7:48.
The Trojans hit a pair of late 3-pointers to make it look closer than it was after the Rams hit 8 of 8 from the line to ice it over the game’s final 3 minutes.
“As a senior, I am just excited to be able to play another home game,” Hawes said. “We’re going to state (after Thursday’s game), and we are looking to go in as champions.”
Highland’s Makenna Baker and Rigby’s Anna Fullmer tied for top scoring honors with 13, followed by Rigby’s Tylie Jones (11) and Highland’s Bailey Farrer (10).
Rigby (17-7) and Highland (18-7) will tip off Thursday at 7 p.m. in Pocatello.