NAMPA • Undermanned. Overmatched.

It didn’t matter for Richfield on Saturday. The Tigers would not be denied.

“It’s amazing what a team can do when it comes together to defy the odds,” Richfield coach Buck Hendren said.

And defy the odds the Tigers did.

In a tournament in which it suited up just six players, Richfield concluded its magical title run Saturday at the Idaho Center by taking down the four-time defending champion Dietrich Blue Devils, 48-41 in the 1A-II championship.

“We come from a small town where they instill in you from the very beginning that you just have to have heart for what you do,” Richfield’s Mariah Lezamiz said. “You have to have internal drive.”

It’s that internal drive that allowed the Tigers to end Dietrich’s run at history. No team in Idaho basketball history, boys or girls, had ever won five straight state championships. That record remains in tact. The chance to deny the Blue Devils another title wasn’t lost on Richfield, who ended up winning three of the four head-to-head matchups this season.

“It feels great,” Richfield’s Taylor King said of denying the Blue Devils. “It feels really good, especially since they’re our rivals.”

Dietrich began the game hot, scoring 16 points in the first quarter. Four of those came from star Jacey Shaw. But after the first quarter, Richfield’s defense clamped down and allowed just nine points over the next two quarters. Shaw wound up scoring 15 points but shot just 6-for-22 from the field and did not hit a 3-pointer.

“Defense is my main thing,” said Lezamiz, who was Shaw’s primary defender. “I want to hold their best player to as little as I can. That’s my goal going in.”

Things got interesting in the fourth quarter as a Nikki Larson steal and layup brought what was a double-digit margin minutes earlier to just three. But in the end Richfield made its free throws late and walked away with a banner and trophy, the school’s fifth girls basketball title overall.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” King said.

Gloria Kent and Monce Rivas, a pair of underclassmen, were forced into action with the season-ending injuries to Hannah Walker and Jade Williams. Though it was an adjustment, both Rivas and Kent came through when it mattered most. Kent made big shots in the earlier rounds of state while Rivas scored four points in the championship game.

“It was a matter of just getting everyone tuned up,” Hendren said.

Richfield was led Saturday by April Wood’s 16 points. King chipped in 13 and Lezamiz had nine. Lezamiz and Wood played every minute of the game, while King sat out for just under a minute.

For Dietrich, an incredible run comes to an end. Though it wasn’t the result he wanted, Dietrich coach Acey Shaw took the loss in stride and was able to put the last five seasons in perspective. The recent success has been a lot more than about a single game.

“The ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Shaw said. “Richfield’s a good team and they just played better and wanted it more … It was pretty sad. But I told them, ‘Don’t hang your head. You had a good run. You guys are champions to me.’”

Though the Blue Devils didn’t ride home with a fifth trophy in tow, the 2014-15 season was not a lost one. Losing Shaw to graduation figures to be a big loss for the Blue Devils going forward and with Castleford and Richfield on the rise, it’s hardly a given Dietrich makes it back to the Idaho Center next year. But what happened at the Idaho Center Saturday and what happens next year can’t take away what Dietrich has accomplished.

“They’ve been really great. The last four years, unbelievable. And this year (too),” Shaw said. “Five would have been nice, but Richfield deserves it. Even though we didn’t win the championship, they’ve learned a lot from this.”

On the flip side, things look as bright as ever for Richfield. The Tigers don’t lose any players to graduation and, hypothetically, will have more than six players dressed next season. After losing two players to season-ending injuries, Richfield might finally have a full deck of cards. It’s a scary notion for the rest of the division.

“We’ll no longer be six,” Lezamiz said with a laugh. “We’ll be at least nine.”

Richfield 48, Dietrich 41

Dietrich – 16; 7; 2; 16 – 41

Richfield – 11; 14; 11; 12 — 48

DIETRICH (41)

Shaw 15, Larson 10, Hubert 10, Dilworth 4, Heimerdinger 2. Totals: 15 9-13 41.

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RICHFIELD (48)

Wood 16, King 13, Lezamiz 9, Buckner 6, Rivas 4. Totals: 14 5-27 48.

3-point field goals: Dietrich 2 (Larson 2) Richfield 5 (Wood 3, King 2). Fouls: Dietrich 21, Richfield 12. Fouled out: None.

Richfield 48, Dietrich 41

Dietrich 41, Richfield 48

Dietrich – 16; 7; 2; 16 – 41

Richfield – 11; 14; 11; 12 — 48

DIETRICH (41)

Shaw 15, Larson 10, Hubert 10, Dilworth 4, Heimerdinger 2. Totals: 15 9-13 41.

RICHFIELD (48)

Wood 16, King 13, Lezamiz 9, Buckner 6, Rivas 4. Totals: 14 5-27 48.

3-point field goals: Dietrich 2 (Larson 2) Richfield 5 (Wood 3, King 2). Fouls: Dietrich 21, Richfield 12. Fouled out: None.

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