MURTUAGH – In the long list of basketball clichés, “postseason games are won and lost at the free throw line,” is an adage as old as the underhanded free throw and the set shot.
Like most sports clichés, it’s also packed full of truth.
That truth was on full display in the semifinal game of the Snake River Conference Tournament, when top-seeded Oakley went 2-for-9 from the line during regulation, then went 9-for-12 in overtime to secure a 62-53 win over fourth-seeded Shoshone.
“We got some stops in that overtime period and made some shots. When things are tight, this group seems to step up,” said Oakley head coach Travis Noble. “We don’t coach making or missing shots. There are nights you’re not going to hit shots. We coach effort plays, and the rest will come.”
Oakley withstood a first-half scoring barrage by Shoshone senior Colby Johnson, who netted 15 points in the first two quarters.
The Hornets outscored Shoshone 14-5 in the overtime period, as the Indians missed a few close shots that would have kept them within striking distance.
Seniors Hewstyn Beck and Brody Martin and sophomore Gannon Critchfield led Oakley with 15 points apiece. For Shoshone, Johnson and fellow senior Devan Bollar scored 19 points apiece.
Oakley 62, Shoshone 53
Oakley 13 12 13 10 14 —62
Shoshone 10 14 12 12 5 —53
Beck 15, Martin 15, Critchfield 15, Robinson 6, Palmer 11 Totals: 22 11-21 62
Bollar 19, Johnson 19, Regalado 11, Cordoba 4 Totals: 19 15-17 53
3-point goals: Oakley 7 (Beck 4, Palmer 3) Shoshone (None) Team fouls: Oakley 13, Shoshone 18 Fouled out: Oakley (Critchfield) Shoshone (Perry) Technicals: Oakley (Beck).
Valley 62, Raft River 59
MURTAUGH – No. 3 Raft River stormed back from a nine-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter in the Snake River Conference semifinal behind Kolten Hitt’s nine points in the final frame. Hitt had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his shot caromed off the backboard and went awry, giving Valley a 62-59 win.
“We wanted to get off to a fast start and have a good first quarter. Raft River is a tough out. They fought hard all the way down to the last shot,” said Valley head coach Brian Hardy.
Second-seeded Valley made seven three-pointers on the night, while the Trojans made zero, and Raft River went just 7-for-17 from the free throw line. Hitt helped keep his team afloat, finishing with 27 points. For Valley, junior forward Ben Christensen led the way with 19 points, and sophomore center Zane Mussmann added 16 points, including 10 in the second quarter.
“We knew it would be a great game. Valley hit a few more shots, and it’s the luck of good basketball games. That happens sometimes. We had our chances,” said Raft River head coach Brian Poole.
Valley advances to the Snake River Conference Championship, where it will take on top-seeded Oakley Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Murtaugh High School. Raft River bumps to the loser’s bracket, where it will take on fifth-seeded Glenns Ferry on Monday.
Valley 62, Raft River 59
Valley 12 16 19 15—62
Raft River 11 13 14 21—59
Christensen 19, Mussmann 16, Hardy 8, Tvrdy 5, Carlquist 9, Farfan 2, Fenton 4 Totals: 23 7-17 62
RAFT RIVER (59)
Ko. Hitt 27, Ka. Hitt 10, Spencer 11, Poole 6 Shulz 3, Montoya 2 Totals: 24 11-21 62
3-point goals: Valley 9 (Christensen 4, Carlquist 3, Fenton, Hardy) Raft River (None) Team fouls: Valley 19, Raft River 16 Fouled out: Valley (Mussmann).