RIRIE — Senior nights tend to be filled with mixed emotions. Even for the most stoic of coaches and players, celebrating the ups and downs of a four-year journey can be arduous.
The Ririe boys basketball team had its senior night on Friday prior to its game with Salmon, and the festivities had added meaning for Bulldogs coach Eric Torgerson.
“There’s seven of them on an eight-man team so we’re definitely going to miss them,” Torgerson said. “It is bittersweet when you tell them in the locker room before the game ‘You’ll never play in this gym again in this capacity so you have to make the most of it.’”
While 6-foot-7 forward Michael Ure, the area’s leading scorer at more than 23 points per game, may be the face of the team and a matchup problem for opposing defenses, the rest of the Bulldog lineup has done its part, reaching the 2A state title game the past two season. Currently Ririe is No. 1 in the state media 2A poll.
“We are a team, we win together, we lose together,” said Ure, who finished with 22 points and hit four 3-pointers in the Bulldogs’ 89-54 victory. “We’ve all worked so hard for this. All of us together.”
The Bulldogs (17-1, 6-0) ran their win streak to 12 straight. Salmon (2-14, 0-7) kept the game competitive in the first quarter before Ririe started to pull away. Ten players eventually scored, four in double figures, as the Bulldogs pushed the lead to 30 points.
Torgerson estimated his senior class had played hundreds of games together, including summer and spring games.
“Every summer we go to tournaments and play our hearts out and work really hard,” Ure said. “It’s all coming together now.”
Leading 61-26 at the half, Torgerson rested most of his starters in the third period. The starters returned in the fourth before coming out with two minutes remaining.