KIMBERLY — The Kimberly High School boys basketball followed up an upset of No. 1 Snake River strongly by doubling up Filer 61-30 at home on Tuesday night, and the runaway started in the opening minutes.
The Bulldogs opened the game on a 12-0 run, with tight man-to-man defense giving Filer’s hot shooters like Nick Meyerhoffer, who scored 25 points against Canyon Ridge last week, little room to operate. Meanwhile, Kimberly center Taylor Holcomb, listed at 6-foot-7, kept tight watch of the paint and blocked a few shots in the first half.
Trey Garey led the Kimberly offense in the quick scoring, posting nine points in the first quarter, but he said the Bulldogs’ attack came from great defensive pressure.
“When we come out and communicate and execute on defense like we did tonight, it leads to offense,” he said. “We got those easy buckets, and then our shots started falling after that.”
He finished with a game-high 15 points.
Kimberly head coach Daren Garey said that his son, Trey, a four-year player for the Bulldogs, has been the key to their command of the court.
“He’s definitely our leader, on offense or defense,” Daren said. “(The) kids look to him and we look to him to dictate the team.”
On the other end, the Wildcats had great defensive numbers coming into Tuesday’s game, holding opponents to about 40 points per game. However, Kimberly rolled into halftime five points off the mark, leading 35-15.
Daren Garey said his team disrupted Filer’s scheme by playing at a faster pace.
“In order to do that, we had to get stops on the defensive end and limit them to one-and-done opportunities (by) getting rebounds,” he said. “If we can do that, we’re pretty tough.”
The second half wasn’t any easier for Filer, as Kimberly rolled in the third quarter 17-8, which was finished off by a great buzzer-beater by Braxton Hammond of the Bulldogs.
With only a few ticks remaining, Filer’s Ashton Karel blocked Hammond’s long jumper from just beneath the key, but the ball landed back in his right hand. He corralled the shot, turned 360 degrees and netted it as the horn sounded.
“We were running a play to him,” Daren Garey said. “That wasn’t the shot we were looking for, but it was cool.”
The clock ran in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs held their comfortable lead and earned their third win in the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference.
In the end, all but one Bulldog scored points.
The Wildcats were led by Meyerhoffer with 13 points. The loss drops Filer to 7-8 on the season and 1-2 in conference.
For Kimberly, the win follows a two-point victory at home on Saturday over the No. 1-ranked team in the 3A media poll, Snake River, which Daren Garey said showed him a lot about the Bulldogs’ effort.
“Last week, we had three games and we had finals,” he said. “It was a tough week. I was really proud of our guys, given how tired we were mentally at the end of that week, coming out and beating the No. 1 team in the state. It’s given us a belief that we feel like we can beat anybody.”
Trey Garey said the win is part of a larger process.
“We want to have a growth mindset,” he said, “so when we go into the next game, no matter who we beat last time, we want to be even better.”
They’ll need to find some growth in their next matchup on the road at Buhl, who have handed the Bulldogs (11-5, 3-1) their only conference loss.
Daren Garey said the Bulldogs will need to create better defensive pressure, especially on the perimeter against shooters like Carter Kelsey, who dropped 24 points on the Bulldogs the first time both teams met.
“Our focus is on doing a better job of communicating on defense,” he said. “We got lost a lot in our defense last time.”
Trey Garey said he thinks the Bulldogs are up for the challenge and excited to potentially grab the No. 1 seed in the SCIC tournament.
“Last time, we didn’t go into the game ready for it,” he said. “We let them get too many shots off, but I think we’ll be ready for them this time.”