Clinging to a one point lead with a little more than three minutes remaining in the game the Idaho Falls High School boys basketball team needed one play, one play to change the momentum versus rival Skyline.
The Tigers got more than just one play, they got four. Four consecutive offensive rebounds on four shots leading to four points proved to be the pivotal moment, giving Idaho Falls the 48-40 win.
“Those four rebounds really were huge for us,” Tigers coach Howard Hart said. “I mean it kept the ball out of Skyline’s hands and allowed us to eat some clock. Huge plays for us.”
The rebounds not only stopped an 8-0 Grizzlies run, it took the momentum out of a Grizzlies squad that battled from behind all night without the services of leading scorer Jo Bates.
“We had plenty of chances,” Grizzlies coach Clint Cornish said. “We had good looks and battled all night we just didn’t grab the chances we had when the presented themselves.”
Skyline fell behind early 8-0 in the opening minutes of the first quarter as the much taller and longer Tigers controlled the low post on both ends of the floor.
“We knew they would attack the basket,” Cornish said. “They are so long it makes things difficult, and when you are shooting the ball yourself, it’s even tougher.”
With every I.F. run, the Grizzlies found a way to answer. In typical Idaho Falls-Skyline fashion, the game came down to the last few minutes.
The Grizzles trailed by three at halftime and three entering the fourth quarter. After Spencer Harding’s three-point play and ensuing 3-pointer, the Grizzlies trailed 39-37. Cruz Taylor’s driving floater tied the game at 39-39 with just under four minutes to go.
But the Tigers went on a 9-1 run over the last three minutes to pull away.
“We had different guys that had to step up tonight,” Hart said. “When Kalvin (Bowen) got in foul trouble it forced us to do some different things, and the kids responded.”
Paul Wilson and Kenyion Clark combined for 28 of I.F.’s points, with 15 and 13, respectively, for Idaho Falls (7-4, 3-1), which travels to Hillcrest on Thursday.
“I think Clark was huge for them tonight,” Cornish said. “His 13 points were big and all of the came from in the paint.”
Cruz Taylor had 10 points to lead Skyline (6-5, 1-3 4A District 6), which hosts Shelley on Thursday.
IDAHO FALLS 48, SKYLINE 40
Idaho Falls 13 7 14 14 – 48
Skyline 7 10 14 9 – 40
IDAHO FALLS (48) – Kenyion Clark 13, Andrew Gregersen 2, Paul Wilson 15, Cam Conrad 5, Braxton Ball 7, Jaxon Sorenson 6. FG: 18. FT: 12-17. 3-pointers: none. Total fouls: 8. Fouled out: none.
SKYLINE (40) – Zach Hansen 5, Cruz Taylor 10, Jael Garcia 5, Ethan Wilding 7, Kadin Pabst 4, Easton Taylor 3, Spencer Harding 6. FG: 15. FT: 6-8. 3-pointers: 4(Hansen, Wilding, E. Taylor, Harding). Total fouls: 12. Fouled out: none.