JEROME – After Wednesday’s emotional win over rival Minico, Burley head coach Jack Bagley said his team was playing good basketball—maybe its best of the season. On Friday, the Bobcats had another chance to show their mettle in a tough road game against Jerome.
Burley led almost the entire night, held off numerous Tiger surges along the way, and picked up a huge district win by defeating Jerome 61-58 at Jerome High School. The win gives the Bobcats sole possession of second place in the Great Basin Conference.
“We were able to keep our composure tonight,” Bagley said. “We never gave in or let down. Coming off a big win against Minico, I was a bit worried about how we would come out. There’s always an emotion let down. But we stayed focused tonight.”
“They made a few more plays than we did down the stretch,” said Jerome head coach Joe Messick. “It was a great spectator game. They hit big shots. We had some good opportunities at the basket late, but it just wouldn’t fall.”
Burley raced out to an early 8-0 lead as center Coty Hackett went to work in the paint.
“We used our bigs to work through them,” said Burley forward Ace Christiansen. “Our guards made some big shots as well, but it all started inside.”
Jerome began to right the ship when Tyler Cook scored over the 6-foot-7 Hackett.
The Tigers raced ahead and took a 15-13 lead into the second quarter.
The Tigers decided to slow the game down in an attempt to get Burley’s bigs away from the basket and open up the middle. It worked as the methodical, perimeter-oriented offense slowly ground down the Bobcats and prevented any real fast-break chances for them. Jerome’s final possession of the half burned nearly two full minutes off the clock.
Bobcat guard Ryan Bagley buried a 3-pointer from almost mid court to give Burley a 22-19 lead at halftime.
Things picked up offensively in the third quarter. Burley was able to get out and run a little bit, scoring 23 points in that period alone.
Midway through the third, Burley held a 30-23 lead and appeared to be in control. But Jerome scratched and clawed its way back. Clegg and Geist were up to their usual antics, but Jordin Myers and Tyler Cook contributed heavily. At one point Myers scored 7 straight for the Tigers.
Burley held a 45-39 lead after three, but Jerome quickly tied it at 49 apiece.
Geist connected on two free throws to put the Tigers on top 56-55 with under a minute to play. On the other end, Bagley hit yet another 3-ball to give the Bobcats a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Bagley notched 21 points for the Bobcats. Hackett pitched in 11, Brock Whitaker had 8 and Christiansen had 7.