TWIN FALLS — Admittedly, it wasn’t the best performance the Twin Falls High School girls basketball team had come up with in recent memory.
But, as head coach Nancy Jones said, a win is important, no matter how it comes.
Despite an off shooting night — and a stellar effort from Canyon Ridge senior Caitlin Christ — Twin Falls was able to hold off the Riverhawks for a 47-37 Great Basin Conference victory Friday night at Canyon Ridge High School.
“It’s always good to come out and get a win,” said Bruin senior Kylie Baumert. “It puts us in a good position heading into next week.”
It was a back-and-forth affair through the opening minutes of the first quarter after Baumert kicked off the scoring by taking the opening tip straight to the hoop for an easy lay-in. Canyon Ridge immediately countered with its go-to offensive threat on the night: Crist.
The senior was on the attack early and often. She finished with a game-high 14 points and did much more for the Riverhawks than just score.
“She does everything,” said Canyon Ridge head coach Kevin Cato. “She has a motor that doesn’t quit. We kind of turn her loose and ask her to make plays on defense and make plays on offense. Where she’s special this year is she stays more under control, and she’s involving her teammates way more.”
In the latter stages of the first period Twin Falls built a cushion, albeit one that wasn’t too comfortable. Canyon Ridge was concerned with Twin Falls’ perimeter shooting and rotated its defense to the outside. The plan, although good in theory, didn’t manifest the wanted results as a number of Bruins were left open down low. It allowed the Bruins to get out in front 16-7 after one quarter.
But, as would be the recurring theme throughout the evening, Canyon Ridge refused to go away.
The Riverhawks went to work, sparked by Crist’s effort, as she seemed to cover every square inch of the court.
“Caitlin is definitely our leader,” Cato said. “She always spearheads our effort, and tonight the girls stepped up and followed her.”
After a Bethany Romney 3-pointer in the latter stages of the second period, Canyon Ridge closed the gap to 22-18.
“We didn’t give up,” Cato said. “We just kept competing. In these games against teams that play really good defense, we often try to take the path of least resistance, and that just isn’t going to win games.”
Twin Falls freshman Paige Beem, who started for the Bruins, scored just before the buzzer to give her team a 28-20 lead at halftime.
Beem wasn’t done, as she began the third quarter with straight straight points to extend the Bruin advantage.
“Paige played varsity soccer, and you can tell she has some experience at this level,” Jones said. “She brings fearlessness for us. She’s not afraid to get into the lane, and good things happen for us when she does that. She’s very coachable and has a bright future.”
Once again, Canyon Ridge didn’t allow its crosstown rival to get too far ahead. Crist continued to pound the rock, while Alexa Thomas and Orion Shirley found their shooting touch.
The Riverhawks went into the fourth down just 37-30.
Twin Falls was able to hold Canyon Ridge at bay through the majority of the final period, until a Shirley jumper pulled her squad within seven points. She forced a turnover on the other end of the court before Lynzie Bryant closed the gap to 42-37 with just under a minute remaining.
But Bruins senior center Sage Swan effectively ended the comeback with a clutch bucket. The finishing touch came via Beem, who completed an and-1 in the waning seconds of the contest.
“The girls kept their composure when things weren’t quite going well for us,” Jones said. “We did not shoot the ball well, but I was proud of them for hanging in there and powering through a night like this.”
In addition to Crist’s 14 points, Thomas added seven and Shirley had six.
Twin Falls got 13 from Beem, nine from Baumert and six from Swan.
The Riverhawks (2-13, 0-7 Great Basin Conference) head to Wood River on Tuesday for another district matchup. The Bruins (9-8, 5-2) take on Minico, the conference’s top team, at home the same night.
“Tonight gives us more confidence to go play hard next week,” Baumert said. “We have a big game coming up.”
Twin Falls 47, Canyon Ridge 37
Twin Falls 16 12 9 10 — 47
Canyon Ridge 7 13 10 7 — 37
TWIN FALLS (47) — Kylie Baumert 9, Morgan Harr 5, Madison Glascock 5, Paige Beem 13, Morgan Cargile 2, McKayla Rodriguez 4, Sage Swan 6, Brinlee Stotts 3.
CANYON RIDGE (37) — Bethany Romney 3, Alexa Thomas 7, Lynzie Bryant 2, Orion Shirley 6, Aria Wood 2, Caitlin Christ 14, Alicia Beverly 3.