The No. 4 Minico Spartans (7-14) came out smoking hot from 3-point range and worked hard on the offensive boards in beating the No. 5-seeded Wood River Wolverines 58-47 Tuesday night in a first-round game of the Great Basin tournament.
Action in the 4A boys’ basketball tournament took place in Rupert at Minico High. The outcome, combined with Jerome’s 63-59 home win over Canyon Ridge Tuesday night, meant that Wood River will have one more home game this season.
Coach Andy Miles’ Wolverines (4-17) will host the No. 6-Canyon Ridge Riverhawks (2-18) on Thursday, Feb. 20 in a 7 p.m. loser-out game on the Hailey hardwoods. The two teams have split two games this season, each team winning on the other team’s homecourt.
Wood River prevailed 58-43 in Twin Falls Jan. 24, and Canyon Ridge earned its first league victory 47-39 on Feb. 12 in Hailey.
In Rupert Tuesday, the Wolverines put three players in double figures and shot very respectably at 42% for the night. The visitors just fell behind early and couldn’t make it over the hump for the rest of the game. Minico’s 13-7 edge on the offensive boards was a factor.
Wood River assistant coach J.C. Nemecek said, “Trailing 26-19 at halftime, Wood River closed the difference to 34-30 with 2:04 left in the third, but Minico scored six unanswered points to pull away again. In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines again closed to 50-45 with 1:38 remaining in the game but were unable to close any more.
“Minico’s 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point line during the first quarter gave them momentum (they were 1-6 from that range the rest of the game) and their 13 offensive rebounds were major contributing factors in their win.”
Hailey’s leading scorer Cody Carter (9.4 ppg) led the way with 12 points. He added eight rebounds, two assists and three steals in a strong all-around effort. Once again, senior Eron Bates (12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) came up big, and senior Kevin Hernandez (10 points, 5 rebounds) contributed to solid team shooting.
Other Wood River contributors were Arthur Brugger (8 points, 4-for-4 free throws, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), Alec Nordsieck (3 points) and Parker Bingham (2 points, 1 board, 1 assist, 1 blocked shot). Wood River shot 8-for-15 at the line, compared to Minico’s 14-for-24.
Minico junior Domenico Chavez, who hurt Wood River with 12 second-half points during a 67-49 Spartan loss in Hailey Jan. 29, was hot from the perimeter again with two 3-pointers and 14 points for the night. Sophomore Peyton Bailey tallied 15.
With its narrow four-point home win Tuesday, No. 3 Jerome (12-9) advanced to play No. 2-seeded Burley (16-4) on Thursday night in the championship bracket semi-final.
In the other semi-final Thursday, No. 1-seeded defending conference champion Twin Falls (16-4) will try to stay unbeaten in Great Basin play hosting Minico.
The Wood River-Canyon Ridge winner on Thursday will play another loser-out game Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. on the road at the loser of Twin Falls-Minico or Jerome-Minico. If the seedings hold up in Thursday’s semi-finals and Wood River beats Canyon Ridge, the Wolverines would return to Rupert for another showdown Saturday.
Championship game is set for Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
The top two teams from the Great Basin will qualify for the Idaho High School Activities Association’s State 4A tournament Thursday, March 6 at Borah High School in Boise.
Next year, the Great Basin gets 2.5 berths in the state tournament, meaning that the third place GBC team in the tournament will get one more chance to make state in a play-in game against the third-place team from the 4A Boise area.