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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday — February 25, 2004


Wolverine girls
come close, that’s all

Narrow loss to Marsh Valley
and an early exit

They played an excellent basketball game and came within two points of beating the eventual State 3A champs, the Marsh Valley Eagles.

Then, Wood River High’s girls struggled mightily in their next game at last weekend’s State 3A basketball tournament in Boise—yet nearly won over the Salmon Savages.

Wood River (15-8) came as close as you can come, but that’s all. They came home to Hailey disappointed in the 0-2 outcome of the school’s first-ever trip to the state tourney.

In a closely-contested State 3A tourney featuring seven games settled by four points or less, Wood River played the closest games of all—a 55-53 heartbreaking loss to Marsh Valley Thursday and a 47-46 cliffhanger to Salmon Friday.

"We felt that the winner of our game against Marsh Valley would have a shot at a state championship," said Wolverine coach Brent Carnduff. "We were at our best in that game against a very good team."

The closeness of the games was no consolation to the Wolverines, who unquestionably traveled to Boise’s Bishop Kelly High School with the intent of winning the State 3A tourney.

Wood River’s scoring star at state, as she’s been for three seasons, was 5-11 senior post Natalie Green. Carnduff said, "Natalie’s whole game was there against Marsh Valley. She played a great game."

Green scored 24 points with 5 rebounds in Wood River’s 55-53 loss to Marsh Valley. She added a team-high 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals against Salmon. And she was nearly inconsolable afterwards.

The girl who started playing as a youngster with her father Bill in Hailey gyms finished her four-year career with 1,109 points—410 points better than the next-highest all-time scorer.

Green’s scoring in the first half against Marsh Valley brought Wood River back from a nine-point deficit and carried the underdogs on a 22-6 streak ending with a 33-26 Hailey lead.

"Things looked good in the third quarter," said Carnduff. "We pressed. They panicked and started throwing up quick 3-pointers. Then there was a run of fouls called against us that sent Marsh Valley to the line. It took our rhythm away."

Although the Wolverines committed only 10 turnovers for the game, their shooting went cold for the rest of the game. The Eagles picked up the pace, shooting 48% after half.

"We did a real good job handling the ball but got hurt on the boards," said Carnduff, whose team was outscored 25-9 in second-chance points during their two games at state.

Emily Smith, who had 15 points and 4 assists, yanked down an offensive rebound and made her second free throw to tie the back-and-forth game 53-53. But Marsh Valley had the ball for a final play—and 5-7 junior guard Elysha Shipp (4 points) found a seam in the defense and drove for the game-winning bank shot.

"We kept the ball out of their point guard’s hands, like we talked about in the time out, but we didn’t stop the ball," said Carnduff.

Marsh Valley (21-2) went on to beat Lakeland 60-58 in overtime and win the championship 66-50 over Priest River (23-3) Saturday. It was Marsh Valley’s first-ever state basketball title. The Eagles finished second to Shelley last February.

Friday, Wood River tried to regroup and stay alive in the consolation bracket against Salmon, a 48-44 loser to Lakeland Thursday.

Both teams struggled with their shooting (WR 38%, Salmon 32%), but the Wolverines were sloppy with their ball-handling (22 turnovers) and never got any production from the outside. Salmon did a better job running its offense and hit 6-of-18 3-pointers.

Still, Wood River persevered, fought through its troubles and foul woes and went on a 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter to tie the game 34-34 on Alexa Alberdi’s amazing 3-pointer from the midcourt line.

Jessica King scored 8 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and Smith swished a foul line jumper to put Hailey up 44-43 with 1:39 left. But missed opportunities and turnovers hurt Hailey in the final 90 seconds.

With 40 seconds left, Salmon’s 5-6 senior Trina Stephenson (18 points) eluded the Wolverine defense down low, caught a fine pass from 6-0 junior Michelle Grohs (5 assists) and scored the eventual game-winning basket.

Carnduff said, "I think we’re a pretty big challenge for Salmon on most nights. It’s a game we should have won. We were so out of sync, though. We didn’t run an offense and we were standing on defense.

"Our hearts were there. We couldn’t get our heads into it."

Shelley (23-3) beat Salmon (18-9) by a score of 37-35 in Saturday’s consolation final while Lakeland (18-6) was a 70-40 winner over Gooding (17-10) in the third-place game.

Carnduff (58-34 in four years) predicted at the start of the season that Wood River’s tougher schedule would yield results. "We might not have as good an overall record, but hopefully we’ll play tougher in February," he said then.

Wood River did just that, and the toughness, team effort and talent nearly carried the Wolverines to the land of state tournament hardware.

"These girls changed Wood River girls’ basketball with all they’ve accomplished over the years," said Carnduff.

The team banquet will be held next week. In other state tournament results:

Three teams completed undefeated seasons with state titles. Jerome (25-0) won its first-ever State 4A title 54-30 over Vallivue of Caldwell; Grangeville (23-0) knocked off defending champ Lapwai (21-5) 69-50 for the 2A crown; and Rimrock (26-0) won its second straight 1A title 47-36 over Shoshone (23-4). In 5A, Centennial (22-5) beat defending champ Timberline 36-26.

Marsh Valley 55-53 over WR: Natalie Green 24 points, Emily Smith 15, Syringa Stark 5, Jessica King 4, Tiffany Wheeler 3, Liz Rippon 2. Rebounds—Green 5, Rippon 4, Smith 3. Assists—Smith 4. 3-pointers (5-16)—Green 3, Smith 1, Wheeler 1. FG%—36%. FT—8-13. Opp FT—8-18.

Salmon 47-46 over WR: Green 14 points, King 12, Stark 7, Smith 6, Rippon 4, Alexa Alberdi 3. Rebounds (29)—Green 8, King 6, Smith 5, Stark 4. Steals—Green 4, King 4, Stark 3. Assists—Smith 3, Wheeler 3, King 2. 3-pointers (2-6)—Stark 1, Alberdi 1. FG%—38%. FT—10-16. Opp FT—7-15. WR turnovers—22.

Season statistics: Offense—1,147 points, 49.9 ppg. Defense—985 points, 42.8 ppg. Free throws—WR 219-341 (64%). Opposition—220-381 (58%). Individual scorers—Natalie Green 381 points (16.6 ppg), 1,109 points career, #1 all-time; Jessica King 268 (11.7), 588 points career, #5 all-time; Emily Smith 244 (10.6), 519 points career, #7 all-time; Syringa Stark 105 (4.6); Tiffany Wheeler 83 (3.6); Nikki Calzacorta 27; Liz Rippon 24; Dawn Bird 10; Alexa Alberdi 6. 3-pointers (61)—Green 27, Smith 15, Wheeler 10, Stark 8, Alberdi 1.


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