BLACKFOOT â€” In a game that featured 6 ties and 7 lead changes, the Blackfoot Broncos found a way to take the last lead as they held off a game effort from 5A Idaho Falls with a 58-55 non-conference home victory on Friday evening.
"I was worried about tonight," Blackfoot head coach Dan Hale said. "In comes an Idaho Falls team that is winless on the year and our mental preparation was just zero. You let teams hang around long enough and they start to believe that they can beat you but I was proud of the way that the kids hung in there and battled through to the end to get the win."
In a seesaw first quarter of play it was Aaron Vail who got the Broncos off to a good start as the big man powered home three baskets on the low blocks, including a hoop plus the harm for nine points, in a quarter that saw Blackfoot with a 14-10 lead when the buzzer sounded.
Blackfoot extended that lead out to 20-12 with a McKye Watt three ball from the corner and it looked as if Blackfoot was going to run away and hide from the Tigers.
Idaho Falls roared back however, closing the second quarter on an 11-4 run and as the Broncadettes and the Broncadudes took to the court for the half time festivities, the Blackfoot lead was just one point as 24-23.
"There were several times when we would build that lead up to seven or eight and I thought that we were going to blow the game open," Coach Hale said. "Then we would turn the ball over or commit a foul which swung the door open for them to get back into the game."
The game swung back and forth throughout the third quarter of play with a dunk by Colby Pearson highlighting the frame as the buzzer sounded on a 35-35 tie.
Idaho Falls employed a tough zone defensive look which slowed down the Bronco offensive attack but a pair of Tanner Norton baseline jumpers and then another McKye Watt three ball sent the Broncos surging to a 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter forcing a time out by the Tigers and driving them from their zone defensive look.
"We went small to start the fourth quarter with a shooter on each corner and Colby in the middle where he could take advantage of his quickness," Coach Hale said. "We were able to hit a couple of shots to drive them out of that zone."
After the time out the two teams traded scores, with Blackfoot hitting field goals and Idaho Falls knocking down free throws. All told 51 charity tosses were taken between the two teams, with the majority of those coming the fourth quarter.
"It's just so frustrating," Coach Hale said. "When we foul them they score without any time coming off of the clock. The last couple of minutes seemed to last forever."
In the end Blackfoot was able to hold off the comeback efforts however as they moved to 5-10 on the season.
A long week looms for the Broncos as they will play three games next week beginning with a Monday night game at Century which is a make up conference game from an earlier weather delayed contest.
"We're banged up right now and we were going to work out tomorrow but now I think that we will just get mentally prepared and rest up for the week," Coach Hale said.
Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
BLACKFOOT 58, IDAHO FALLS 55
Idaho Falls 10 13 12 20 - 55
Blackfoot 14 10 11 23 - 58
Idaho Falls (55) - Logan Cruz 9, Stephen Hart 13, Connor Cammack 12, Jacob Wright 3, Justin Thomas 17, Zach Bowser 1. FG: 15. FT: 19-24. 3-pointers: 6-15 (Connor Cammack 2, Jacob Wright 1, Justin Thomas 3). Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Connor Cammack.
Blackfoot (58) - Tanner Norton 6, Colby Pearson 15, Alonzo Ramos 11, Paul Cannon 7, Tyler Cannon 2, McKye Watt 8, Aaron Vail 9. FG: 17. FT: 19-27. 3-pointers: 5-18. (Colby Pearson 3, McKye Watt 2). Fouls: 20. Fouled out: none.