On paper, Wednesday’s Idaho Falls vs. Skyline boys basketball game didn’t feature any headline-inducing matchups or potential postseason drama awaiting the outcome.
But, as Tigers head coach Howard Hart noted, “This game is bigger than conference. It’s I.F.-Skyline.”
Idaho Falls all but had its postseason fate in hand before the tip, but didn’t waste time on its visiting rivals, rolling to a 20-point lead by half and eventually pulling away for a 74-50 victory.
Kalvin Bowen celebrated senior day, and his signing to play football at Rocky Mountain College, with a game-high 25 points and eight assists, and helped set the tone early with four 3-pointers in the first half. The Tigers kept their advantage to around 20 points for most of the second half, shooting 57 percent over the final two quarters. Idaho Falls also scored 25 points off of 15 Skyline turnovers and the Grizzlies never overcame a poor shooting first half that netted just 15 points.
Despite the disparity on the scoreboard, the Idaho Falls gym was packed and in a celebratory mood after senior players and cheerleaders were honored prior to the game.
“I’ve been around here as a player, a coach, an assistant coach and a patron,” Hart added. “It’s just a special night. There’s more meaning attached to it than so many games. You never take a game like this and say ‘You’re not playing for anything.’”
With the victory, the Tigers improved to 9-1 in 4A District 6 and 14-5 overall. I.F. ran its win streak to six straight games. Skyline fell to 3-7 in conference and 8-12 overall.
Ethan Wilding led Skyline with 18 points. Kaden Pabst topped the Grizzlies with six rebounds.
Cam Conrad was in double figures with 10 points for the Tigers. Kenyion Clark grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Idaho Falls finishes the regular season on Friday at Rigby and Skyline’s regular season is concluded.