BLACKFOOT â€” The Blackfoot Broncos have been oh, so close thus far on the basketball season, losing 6 games by 5 points or less. One of those earlier season close losses were to Pocatello and on Friday evening the Broncos welcomed the Indians to town looking to avenge that loss in front of the home crowd.
Unlike the first game with the Indians Friday nights contest was never in doubt as Blackfoot took out their collective frustrations by leading start to finish in a convincing 68-55 victory.
"You know after the game we got together for a team yell and it was 1-2-3 finally," Blackfoot head coach Dan Hale said. "We made a little change where we went to the 1-2-2 press to start the game which I hoped would get the kids moving early on in the game. It really fouled them [Pocatello] up I think and we were able to build a lead and like I've said all year long, it's easier to shoot the basketball and a lot easier to play with a lead."
Indeed the pressure helped the Broncos build a 16-11 first quarter lead and the Bronco's effectively put the game out of reach with a huge second quarter in which Alonzo Ramos hit three of his five first half three point baskets for a 34-22 half time bulge much to the delight of the large, jubilant crowd.
"We didn't even know if Zo was going to play tonight after turning his ankle on Wednesday," Coach Hale said. "He missed practice last night but when I got here tonight, he had gone through some therapy and he decided to tape it and see if he could go. He warmed up well and even though we didn't start him, he was a big factor in the game."
Ramos paced all scorers with 19 points, 17 of which came in the first half of play.
In the second half, Blackfoot turned to their inside game with Austin Campbell patrolling the low blocks for 10 points in the paint. Colby Pearson and Paul Cannon were key contributors in the second half as they repeatedly attacked the basket for either baskets or trips to the free throw line where the Broncos hit 14 of 24 attempts.
Pearson and Cannon finished with 14 and 11 respectfully for their efforts in the victory.
"Anytime you go inside as much as we like to do your going to get your opportunities at the free throw line," Coach Hale said. "Austin is becoming the monster down low that we know he can be and it's something that we will continue to emphasize."
Pocatello mounted a couple of mini runs at the Broncos, largely in part to a steady night on the offensive glass but in the end, Blackfoot had all the answers in their first conference victory of the year.
Blackfoot (4-9, 1-4) will be back in action next Wednesday when they travel to Rigby for a conference game tipping at 7:30 p.m.
BLACKFOOT 68, POCATELLO 55
Pocatello 11 11 15 18 - 55
Blackfoot 16 18 14 20 - 68
Pocatello (55) - Brennen Leischner 12, Easton Ralphs 15, Garrett Holmes 7, Spencer Jessee 6, Colton Belnap 9, Josh Christensen 2, Kyle Neville 2. FG: 24. FT: 4-7. 3-pointers: 3-14 (Easton Ralphs 2, Colton Belnap 1). Fouls: 18. Fouled out: none.
Blackfoot (68) - Tanner Norton 3, Colby Pearson 14, Alonzo Ramos 19, Paul Cannon 11, Tyler Cannon 2, McKye Watt 7, Austin Campbell 10, Aaron Vail 2. FG: 23. FT: 14-24. 3-pointers: 8-18 (Tanner Norton 1, Alonzo Ramos 5, McKye Watt 2). Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none.