Winter sports rewind: A look back at the high school championships

Winter sports rewind: A look back at the high school championships

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Idaho State Wrestling Championships

Kade Orr, of Buhl, embraces his teammate Julian Ruiz, right, after defeating Ruiz in their 3A 113-pound championship bout Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, during the Idaho State Wrestling Championships at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Orr pinned Ruiz at 3:09 to claim the state title.

TWIN FALLS — High school sports are paused for the moment this spring due to the outbreak of COVID-19. With a lull in the action, here is a look back at how the winter state championships turned out for the Magic Valley’s teams and athletes.

Girls basketball

The girls state tournament saw seven different teams from the area make the field, and three made it to the semifinals. Declo survived a low-scoring slugfest with Ririe, Filer escaped Teton in overtime, and defending champion Carey held on 42-39 against Mackay while Lighthouse Christian lost by nine to Salmon River. In Class 4A, Burley fell behind against Teton, mounted a late-game comeback, and eventually fell by one point.

Day two of the tournament eliminated Filer and Declo from title contention. Declo fell to a tough Cole Valley Christian team 47-32, and Filer lost 62-45 to Snake River, the eventual state runner-up.

Carey was the only team to make it to a state championship game after securing a 55-48 victory over Tri-Valley. But the Panthers went cold in the state title game against Rockland and lost 45-30.

“My girls never quit,” Carey coach Merrilee Sears said after the game. “They should still be proud.”

Girls State Basketball - Carey Vs. Rockland

Carey's Berenice Vargas shoots the ball against Rockland during the 1A DII Girls Real Dairy Shootout Championship Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

Wrestling

This year’s state wrestling championships featured both repeat titles and breakout performances.

Twin Falls’ Kase Mauger capped his senior season by winning his third state title, this one at 132 pounds. He was the first wrestler in school history to win three individual championships.

Idaho State Wrestling Championships

Gabriel Taboa, of Jerome, tries to take down Alex Edelblute, of Lakeland, in their 4A 126-pound championship match Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, during the Idaho State Wrestling Championships at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Taboa defeated Edelblute in a 9-5 decision to claim the state title.

Meanwhile, Jerome’s Gabriel Taboa, who Mauger had beaten for last year’s state championship, earned his first career state title in 126. The win gave him a perfect 46-0 record for the season.

In Class 3A, Kimberly’s Broddey Cunningham took home is second consecutive state title despite dealing with a knee injury throughout the season.

Idaho State Wrestling Championships

Broddey Cunningham of Kimberly reacts after defeating Cody Tillery of Sugar-Salem in their 3A 170-pound championship bout Feb. 29 during the Idaho State Wrestling Championships at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Cunningham defeated Tillery 12-0 to claim the state title.

Gooding sophomore Tayten Gillette lost in the state championship last year, but he found redemption with a state title in 152 this year.

“I just wanted it,” Gillette said. “There’s really no other way to explain it.”

Arguably the most interesting matchup came from two Buhl wrestlers. Kade Orr met his teammate Julian Ruiz in the 113 state title match. But Ruiz had hurt his ankle in the semifinal match and was competing at far less than 100%.

Orr, the two-time defending state champion, won the match by pin, but made sure to take care of his friend and keep him from further injury.

“Probably since the start of the season we knew we were going to be together,” Orr said. “It’s rough that he kind of busted up his ankle in the semis, but I’m happy that he made it that far. Hopefully next year we’re different weight.”

Finally, Class 2A produced three state champions from the area, two of which were from Declo. Dawson Osterhout won a repeat state championship at 220, and Derek Matthews, just a sophomore, won his second state title as well.

“It just shows that we have great coaches who know what they’re talking about,” Matthews said of the Hornets’ success. “We have great kids that listen and are able to learn.”

Idaho State Wrestling Championships

Dawson Osterhout, of Declo, reacts after defeating Joe Williams, of Bear Lake, in the 2A 220-pound championship bout Feb. 29 during the Idaho State Wrestling Championships at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Osterhout defeated Williams in a 6-3 decision to claim the state title.

Wendell’s Teegan Dunn won his first state championship at 152 with a 6-0 decision over Ririe’s Tyson Thacker.

Boys basketball

Six Magic Valley teams made it to the boys state tournament, and only one, Kimberly, was left standing by state championship Saturday.

Filer vs Sugar-Salem boys state basketball

Filer played Sugar-Salem in the 3A semifinal game Friday, March 6, 2020, during the boys state basketball tournament at Meridian High School in Meridian. Sugar-Salem defeated Filer 48-36.

Minico fell in Class 4A to Moscow in the quarterfinal, Oakley lost to Lapwai in Class 1A Division I, and Carey dropped its quarterfinal to Cascade in Division II.

Two of the three teams to advance came from Class 3A. Kimberly outlasted Marsh Valley in its first-round game, and Filer, who entered the tournament with a 10-14 record, punched its ticket to the semifinal with a 40-37 win over Homedale.

Dietrich closed day one with an overtime victory over Mackay to advance to the Division II semifinal.

Dietrich vs Lakeside boys state basketball

Dietrich played Lakeside in the 1A D2 semifinal game Friday, March 6, 2020, during the boys state basketball tournament at Caldwell High School in Caldwell. Lakeside defeated Dietrich 76-59.

The three remaining teams all played competitive games in Friday’s semifinals. Dietrich hung with eventual state champion Lakeside before running out of gas in the second half. Filer played future state champion Sugar-Salem closely in the 3A semifinal.

Kimberly earned a convincing 55-37 win over top-ranked Fruitland to get to the state championship where they met Sugar-Salem, a team they had beaten twice already this season.

Kimberly vs Sugar-Salem championship game

Kimberly played Sugar-Salem in the 3A championship game Saturday, March 7, 2020, during the boys state basketball tournament at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Sugar-Salem defeated Kimberly 72-54 to claim the state title.

But championship Saturday proved to be the Diggers’ day as well as an off-day for Kimberly.

Sugar-Salem shot a torrid 58% from three-point range and grabbed a 58-55 championship victory.

“We played them two times before, and we felt pretty good about shutting them down defensively,” Kimberly coach Daren Garey said after the game. “But they just shot the ball really well. Hats off to them.”

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