Season-opening games haven’t been happy occasions for the Wood River High School boys’ varsity basketball team in recent years.
Wolverine teams hadn’t earned a season-opening win since way back in 1999 and had dropped their last 12 debuts by an average score of 18.6 ppg.
Nevertheless Wednesday’s bus trip home from Kimberly was a very happy one for the Wolverine varsity of first-year coach Andy Miles.
Wood River (1-0) clamped down on defense and got scoring from nine different players in a 35-24 non-conference triumph over the Kimberly Bulldogs on the Kimberly floor.
Sophomore Cody Carter (8 points) and freshman Alec Nordsieck (6 points, 4 assists) led the way for a young Wood River hoops squad that built a 21-13 halftime lead with a 15-5 second-quarter outburst.
Wood River teams had only won a single road game over the last two seasons, that coming last Jan. 4 by 20 points at the Community School. But coach Miles brought his squad into a tough gym and prevailed.
Miles said, “It was a big group effort, with 10 of our players getting 15 minutes or more of playing time. We controlled the tempo of the game. The kids were ready for the pressure they threw at us, and they responded well to it.”
Going into the third quarter with an eight-point lead, Wood River’s defense held Kimberly to just two points in the third and then slowed it down on offense. Carter snuck into the lane a couple of times after half and took passes from junior Kevin Hernandez (6 points, 5 rebounds) for key baskets.
“We played some very good defense,” said Miles. “We mixed it up between man and zone in the first half, then went strictly to a zone after half.”
Other contributors included Eron Bates (5 points, 6 rebounds) plus 2 points apiece by Max Mauldin, Connor Hayes, Jonathon Scott, Finn Isaacson and Nickolaus Brunker.
Wood River hosts the Filer Wildcats (1-0) today, Friday on the Hailey hardwoods and welcomes Gooding Tuesday, Dec. 4 for another 7:30 p.m. home game. Filer won a nailbiter at Burley 44-43 Wednesday.
The Wolverines last won a season opener Dec. 2, 1999 by a 71-54 score over visiting Glenns Ferry with James Cordes (20 points) and Sky Wolfe (17) leading the way for the 8-15 squad.
State champion Pilots race past Carey boys
The Glenns Ferry Pilots lost plenty of stars off their State 1A Division 1 championship team of last March. Key players Adrian Martinez, Chris Popoca and Wilder Jones graduated.
But the Pilots (20-7 last season, first state title since 1981) still have some gas left in the tank especially with the shooting of 5-10 junior Ruben Juarez. He scored 21 points in Tuesday’s 49-31 Pilot home victory over the Carey School boys.
Leading Carey (0-1) were Sheldon Hansen (12 points, two 3-pointers), Jordan Dilworth (6 points), Nate Adamson (5), Poncho Gamino (4), Gunner Thompson (2) and Patrick Baird (2). The Pilots (2-0) ended up with seven 3-pointers.
Carey hosts Hagerman’s boys today, Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Panther home debut, the 1A Division 2 Pirates 0-1) coming in from their 54-53 loss at Castleford Tuesday. Carey visits 2A Valley on Thursday.