BOISE – Burley entered Thursday’s opening round of the 4A state tournament playing its best basketball of the season after clinching the Great Basin Conference title six days earlier.
With hopes high, the Bobcats took the court against Vallivue, and promptly ran into a brick wall.
Burley was outmatched and overwhelmed by the Falcons’ athleticism in a 70-56 loss Thursday night at Borah High School in Boise.
“They have a really good team,” said Burley head coach Jack Bagley. “They had a great game plan and they made shots. They did a good job. Their athleticism was the difference.”
“They outplayed us,” said Burley junior Ryan Bagley. “They got every 50/50 ball and they wanted it more than we did.”
Bagley got the first points for the Bobcats with a jumper in the early going. Through the first quarter it was a back-and-forth affair and it appeared Burley would be able to match pace with Vallivue.
The Bobcats trailed just 14-12 after the first quarter.
It was late in the opening period that Vallivue reserve Amoro Lado entered the game for the first time.
Lado, who played the entire season on the JV squad before being pulled up during the district tournament, torched Burley all night.
Lado was too fast for the Bobcat bigs to keep him in front, and too tall and athletic for their guards. He finished with a game-high 29 points and scored from everywhere on the floor.
Lado’s athleticism was a microcosm of Vallivue’s biggest advantage, which the Falcons exploited at will.
“We had a really hard time matching up with them on the perimeter,” Jack Bagley said. “We’d come out on them and they’d take it to the basket. We’d stay back and they knocked down threes.”
Burley trailed 34-24 at the half.
Burley fought throughout the game and did its best to keep pace with the Falcons. But the Bobcats were outmanned and outgunned, and, no matter how many punches they landed, Vallivue always had an answer.
The Falcons continued to pad its lead and were up 56-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We had some momentum, but they bounced that deep 3 in at the end of the third quarter,” Jack Bagley said. “We had a hard time getting stops tonight.”
In addition to Lado’s 29 points, Vallivue got 18 points from Southern Idaho Conference leading scorer Nick Fitts.
Burley was paced by Bagley’s 17 points, while Andrew Ferrin added 11.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Jack Bagley said. “The effort was there, we just ran into a really good Vallivue team. We give them credit.”