JEROME – The first meeting between Burley and Jerome was a tight, seesaw of a game that came down to the very last play. The Bobcats pulled off a 1-point victory that night, and there was no way the second matchup would be able to top it.
Burley withstood a shooting clinic from CSI-bound guard Kaela McClure, made one more play than the Tigers, and left Jerome with a 48-47 win Friday night.
“We made the last couple of plays at the end that they didn’t. That was the difference,” said Burley head coach Roger Caresia. “We have a few things we need to tighten up defensively. We were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
“At the end it came down to free throws,” said Jerome head coach Jeremy Munroe. “Both teams executed really well. It was close throughout and the difference was the free throws they made versus the ones we didn’t.”
It was obvious very early that McClure came to play as she swished a deep 3 in the opening seconds of the game. The Jerome senior finished with 30 points as she was lethal from anywhere on the floor. She hit six 3-pointers on the night, including a go-ahead one from the corner in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
“She brings tremendous leadership to our team,” Munroe said of McClure. “She has a high basketball IQ and she understands what’s going on out there. Kaela can make plays when we need them.”
“We didn’t play very good defense,” Caresia said. “Give them credit. They executed tonight. Kaela played a great game and she shot the ball really well.”
All the Bobcats could do was try to keep pace with her, and, thanks to timely baskets, free throws and just enough defense, they were able to do it.
Jerome led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter. McClure scored all 13 points.
Burley junior post Rebecca Tolman got going in the second period and helped the Bobcats go toe to toe with McClure and the Tigers. The two teams went into the locker rooms at halftime deadlocked at 23-23.
Junior Sydney Pilling took control in the second half. She finished with a team-high 12 points and guided Burley through a 12-2 run during the third quarter.
The Bobcats led by 9 in the final couple of minutes of the third, but Jerome wouldn’t go the way and closed the gap to 42-38 entering the fourth.
Down 2 points with under a minute to play, McClure nailed a deep 3 from the corner to give Jerome a 47-46 lead with 27.7 seconds left on the clock.
Out of a timeout, Jemilynn Mahoney found herself wide open and sunk the easy layup to but Burley back on top. A last-second 3 by Jerome fell short, and the Bobcats escaped with the crucial conference victory.
“This one means a lot because we have four games in the next five days,” Pilling said. “We’re hoping to get home court advantage for the tournament, and winning this game is big for that.”
In addition to McClure’s 30 points, Mercedes Bell recorded 7 for Jerome while Teeanna Crudrup added 6. Pilling scored 12 for Burley, Tolman had 10 and Mahoney had 8.
Burley shot 26 free throws, making 21 of them. Jerome made two of the six it shot.
Burley (8-6, 5-1 Great Basin West) hosts Canyon Ridge today.
“We have to keep playing as a team,” Pilling said. “We need to rest a bit and be ready tomorrow.”
“This is a big win,” Tolman said. “We’ll hydrate, rest and play another one tomorrow.”
Jerome (8-7, 3-3) travels to Wood River, also today.
I told the girls that I was proud of the effort they gave tonight, especially in the fourth quarter when we held them to 6 points,” Munroe said. “Tomorrow we have to take a long road trip and get back out there. We have to keep pushing.”
Both games are make ups caused by snow cancellations the last two weeks.
Burley 48, Jerome 47
Burley 12 11 19 6-48
Jerome 13 10 15 9-47
Kaycee Pope 7, Sydney Pilling 12, Hallie Cook 4, Rebecca Tolman 10, Ashley Shirley 2, Jemilynn Mahoney 8, Natalie Rice 3, Maddie Landrum 2. Totals 11 21-26 48.
Kaela McClure 30, Nicole Cook 2, Mercedes Bell 7, Teeanna Crudup 6, Jordan Hill 2. Totals 19 2-6 47.