TWIN FALLS – The Indians picked up right where they left off just 24 hours earlier.
And they’re one win away from a state tournament berth.
For the second night in a row Buhl outclassed and outmuscled a familiar foe in a 49-33 win over Filer Tuesday at CSI. The victory places the Indians in next week’s Sawtooth Central Conference championship game.
“This was big,” said Buhl senior Hunter Allred. “Coming into the district tournament as the second seed, we definitely had high expectations to come out and put ourselves in the situation we are in now.”
Defense was the name of the game for the Indians once again. It was another intense, fierce effort that led to fast break opportunities and high-percentage shot attempts on the other end of the floor. They held the Wildcats to six first-quarter points, and 14 at the half.
“We’ve been working a lot on defense in practice,” said Buhl senior Zyon Cleverley. “We struggled for a while, but it’s finally starting to click.”
Buhl led 13-6 after the first period.
Not to be outdone, Buhl’s offense fired on all cylinders. Cleverley, one night after dropping 23 points on Gooding, racked up 16 against the Wildcats. Jim Elkin added 12 and Greg Loveless had 9.
“Pushing the ball always works for us,” Allred said. “Our offense was humming, especially in the first half.”
Filer, coming off a huge upset of No. 1 seed Kimberly on Monday night, got a spark off the bench from freshman guard Miguel Perez. He harassed Buhl’s ball-handlers and provided opportunities for his teammates all night. A three-pointer from Perez late in the first half helped the Wildcats close the gap.
“If you told us earlier in the year that we would be one win away from either a state tournament or a play-in game, we would have been ecstatic,” said Filer head coach Allen Kelsey. “We feel pretty good about where we are.”
The Indians held a 21-14 lead at halftime.
Buhl continued to flex its muscles in the second half as its core of seniors, mingled with solid juniors and sophomores, ran up and down the floor and controlled the pace of the game.
“We’ve been playing together, most of us, since fifth grade,” Cleverly said. “We work with each other pretty well.
After the third quarter, Buhl was on top 39-21.
“We shot the ball so well last night, but tonight they weren’t falling,” Kelsey said. “It’s disappointing, especially because it’s hard to come back against Buhl.”
Filer got nine points from Nick Meyerhoeffer, eight from Chance Koyle and five from Perez. The Wildcats head to Gooding to face the Senators on Monday.
“We’re still where we want to be,” Kelsey said. “I though Gooding looked good tonight. We’ll try to come up with something different for them.”
Buhl takes on the winner of that game on Wednesday, once again at CSI.
“We have to focus on the next game,” Elkin said. “We’ll go hard in practice and prepare. We have to stay healthy and eat well.”
“We don’t know who we’re playing yet, but we know both are good teams,” Cleverley said. “We have to go hard every single to be ready.”
Buhl 49, Filer 33
Filer 6 8 7 12 -33
Buhl 13 8 18 10 -49
Chance Koyle 8, Miguel Perez 5, Marcus Hale 4, Josh Hughes 2, Cooper Moon 3, Nick Meyerhoeffer 9, Cade Ackerman 2. Totals 12 5-7 33.
Adam Lauda 2, Hunter Allred 6, Jim Elkin 12, Garrett Bowman 6, Greg Loveless 9, Zyon Cleverly 16. Totals 21 1-2 49.
Gooding 50, Kimberly 44
TWIN FALLS – Had the Senators been looking for a reason to fold, they wouldn’t have needed to look very far.
Just 22 hours before tipoff against Kimberly, Gooding had been pounded by Buhl in the first round of the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference Tournament. Kimberly had already beaten them twice in the regular season by an average of 19 points per game, and was coming off of its first conference loss of the season. Gooding’s players could have packed it in and called it a season.
After anemic offensive performances by both teams in the first half, Gooding put up 38 points in the second half. Seniors Bryson Comstock and Tyler Visser led the way with 17 points apiece, and senior Jack Darcy added eight. Comstock also had five assists, and Visser swiped three steals.
“Our seniors really stepped up for us,” said Gooding head coach Chris Comstock. “We turned it up in the second half and were able to impose our will. We played really well.”
Gooding doubled up Kimberly’s score in the third quarter and would hold its lead for the rest of the game, stifling Kimberly’s oft-potent offense.
After going undefeated in conference play during the regular season, Kimberly’s season ends with a record of 15-7. Gooding advances to take on No. 4 Filer next Monday, with both teams facing elimination.
Gooding 50, Kimberly 44
Gooding; 6; 6; 20; 18;- 50
Kimberly; 8; 8; 10; 18;- 44
Comstock 17, Visser 17, Darcy 8, Funkhouser 2, Loveland 4, Pamplona 2 Totals: 15 13-19 50
Randall 12, Wright 11, Garey 8, Coronado 5, Gunnell 5, Golay 2, Holcomb 1 Totals: 15 11-20 44
3-point goals: Gooding 7 (Comstock 4, Darcy 2, Visser) Kimberly 3 (Wright 2, Gunnell) Team fouls: Gooding 17, Kimberly 16. Fouled out: Gooding (Jennings) Technicals: Kimberly (Holcomb).