BURLEY — The Burley High School girls basketball team survived a near-upset as it defeated Jerome 47-37, overcoming a large halftime deficit in the process.
The first half got out of Burley’s reach early, as Jerome used long possessions and forced turnovers to jump out to an 11-9 lead. Then things got even worse for the Bobcats, as the Tigers started a 7-0 rally that extended their lead at halftime to 21-12.
Burley head coach Roger Caresia said the problem in the first half was energy.
“We didn’t play with any energy, and our focus wasn’t good,” he said. “Jerome played patiently and took advantage. Our team just wasn’t playing as strong mentally.”
“We didn’t really come out to play,” Burley senior guard Sydey Pilling added. “But in the second half, we just said we didn’t want to lose.”
And who better to get the job done than Pilling?
In the third quarter, she netted two 3-pointers en route to a 19-8 third quarter advantage, giving Burley its first lead at 31-29.
She sank two more 3s in the fourth quarter, and she finished the night with a game-high five 3-pointers and led the game in scoring with 17 points.
“My teammates really were pitching in in the second half,” she said. “They created pressure down low so I had space.”
“She can flat out shoot,” Caresia said. “They were sagging in the paint, and she took advantage of that.”
But Pilling fouled out with only a few minutes left in the game as Burley held a slight lead at 40-37. Her teammates picked up the slack with strong defense, and Natalie Rice found her form at the free-throw line, draining six in a row to hold the Burley lead intact.
The win moves Burley to 5-2 on the season (2-1 in the Great Basin Conference), while Jerome drops to 2-4 (1-2).
Jerome head coach Jeremy Munroe said despite the outcome, this game was one of the biggest learning points so far this season.
“This game will be a great stepping stone,” he said. “All in all, I’m proud of the girls and the way they played tonight.”
Jerome has faced strong teams to start the year, including reigning Great Basin Conference champion Minico and now Burley.
“This is definitely a tough stretch,” Munroe said, “but we’ll be a better team by the end of it.”
The stretch doesn’t get any easier in the next game, as the Tigers take on the reigning Sawtooth Central champion Kimberly Bulldogs. Burley will travel to 5A Rigby on Tuesday.
Burley 47, Jerome 37
Burley 9 3 19 16 — 47
Jerome 11 10 8 8 — 37
BURLEY (47) — Natalie Rice 5, Sydney Pilling 17, Hallie Cook 7, Rebecca Tolman 8, Jaida Page, Jemilynn Mahoney 3, Kelsie Pope 2: FG: 14. 3-pointers: 7 (Rice, Pilling 5, Tolman). FT: 12-16. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: Pilling.
JEROME (37) — Abriana Hurtado 9, Tiffani Warren 4, Gracie Capps 3, Nicole Cook 3, Mercedes Bell 11, Gracie Anderson 2, Jordan Hill 2, Kailey Harrison 3. FG: 16. 3-pointers: 2 (Bell, Harrison). FT: 3-9. Total fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.