BURLEY – In front of a packed gym with standing room only, the Bobcats were looking to avenge a 3-point loss to rival Minico earlier in the season.
Instead, put on a show.
Ryan Bagley scored 19 points, Burley cranked up the defensive pressure and the Bobcats blasted the Spartans 70-47 Wednesday night at Burley High School to hand Minico its first conference loss of the season.
“This was a rivalry game against a really good team, and usually the team that shows the most composure ends up winning,” said Burley head coach Jack Bagley. “I thought we did a good job of not getting caught up in the environment, and we enjoyed every minute of it.”
“I didn’t have this result on my list of scenarios tonight,” said Minico head coach Ty Shippen. “Burley did a great job moving the basketball, they shot well tonight and they outrebounded us considerably.”
Once everyone made it inside from the crowded parking lot, they were treated to a back-and-forth affair in the first quarter. Minico’s Matthew Brumley got things started with a tough left-handed layup, but Burley’s Ace Christiansen answered with a jumper on the other end.
Up and down the court both teams raced, and the score was deadlocked 15-15 after the first period. Early in the second it was once again tied, this time at 20 apiece.
Then Burley took control. It became a bludgeoning at the hands of the Bobcats.
“We didn’t do anything different, we just wanted to play our game,” Jack Bagley said. “I liked where we were at. We were getting shots and defensively we were doing really well. We just knocked down some shots.”
Ryan Bagley was up to his usual ridiculous tricks and propensity to make jaw-dropping plays, and he scored in every way possible.
Coty Hackett followed his lead and racked up 17 points on the night. Not to be outdone, Christiansen contributed 14 to the cause.
But it was on defense that Burley made its mark. The Bobcats picked up the ball as soon as it crossed half court, and with quick hands and relentless energy harassed Minico all night long. Even when the Spartans had looks at the basket, the Bobcats’ length altered shot trajectories.
“The difference was our energy and our effort,” Christiansen said. “Our crowd helped us out.”
Burley outscored Minico 20-7 in the second quarter and went into the half on top 35-22.
It was much of the same in the second half as the Bobcats kept their foot on the gas pedal. They led 51-31 heading into the fourth period.
“We haven’t been able to practice because of all the snow,” Shippen said. “I know everybody is in the same boat with that, but Burley deserves all the credit. We were one step slow on defense.”
In addition to Bagley’s 19 points, Hackett had 17 and Christiansen had 14. Guard Brock Whitaker pitched in seven for the Bobcats, who improve to 8-6 on the season, and are now 4-2 in Great Basin Conference play.
“These games happen,” Shippen said. “You see big swings like this. We just have to learn from it. Anytime you come across a scenario where you get set back, you can look at it, learn from it and go. If this can help us for the future, I’ll take it. Our kids will be ready to fight the rest of the season.”
Burley 70, Minico 47
Minico 15 7 9 16 -47
Burley 15 20 16 19 -70
Skyler Miles 8, Tyson Durrant 14, Kobe Matsen 2, Matthew Brumley 11, Brant Etherington 4, Larry Vega 8. Totals 16 7-12 47.
Brock Whitaker 7, Andrew Ferrin 3, Ryan Bagley 19, Justin Beezer 2, Caden Seely 4, Jackson Hill 4, Ace Christiansen 14, Coty Hackett 17. Totals 26 13-15 70.