Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Double OT thriller in the Wildcat den

Filer's seniors finally trim Wood River 60-55

Half full, or half empty?

To Wood River High boys' basketball coach Fred Trenkle, the water bottle is usually half full.

Here is the hard fact about Friday's non-conference boys' basketball game between Wood River and Filer: The young Wolverines squandered a 12-point third quarter lead and eventually fell in double overtime 60-55 to a Filer squad filled with talented seniors.

But Trenkle saw plenty of positives from his hustling squad that started two seniors—just one veteran—and was playing its third game in four nights.

Junior point guard Morgan Uhrig scored a game-high 18 points with 7 steals and 6 assists. Senior Brady Femling chipped in 12 points and 5 assists. Senior Reno Christino tossed in 10 points with 12 rebounds and 4 steals.

Christino's bank shot from the foul line at the regulation buzzer sent the game into overtime at 49-49.

"We did a nice job considering they were bigger and had seven seniors," said Trenkle. "Really, I was thrilled with the way we played—and I know (Filer coach) Loyd Garey was thrilled to get out of there with a win.

"If someone had told me beforehand that we'd play that kind of game against seven seniors, well....We shook them up and had Filer on the ropes. Their experience did pay off in the fourth quarter, though. A little of it was fatigue for us, and a little not quite understanding the situation.

"It was a very entertaining game."

A veteran coach like Trenkle is filled with perspective, and his immediate perspective with Filer dates back to last winter. Wood River lost to Filer by 17 and 14 points during the regular season and had tremendous trouble handling the ball against the press.

"A year ago we had 17 turnovers in the first half against Filer, but Friday night we had only one in the first half. We played as good as we ever played last year, in many aspects of the game," Trenkle said. "We are going to play with confidence with the ball, and we're going to be in a lot of games."

With Uhrig drilling two 3-pointers and Christino scoring 6 points with 4 rebounds, Wood River shot out to a 16-9 first-quarter lead. The Hailey half-time lead of 27-21 could have been bigger, if the Wolverines had shot better than 2-for-9 from 3-point range during an evenly-played second period.

Things look good for Wood River. Guards Uhrig and Femling handled the Filer full-court pressure with aplomb, and the Wolverines finished things when they had a fast break.

In the third, Wood River kept showing Filer different looks with its "1 Game" motion offense and the experienced Wildcats appeared truly out-of-sync. Filer scored only two buckets in the third against Wood River's relentless man-to-man defense.

At the break, Hailey led 42-31. Trenkle thought that the Wolverines should be gone to the free throw line more than seven times (Filer went 17), because of Filer's in-your-face perimeter defense and full-court pressure.

"We changed the tempo of things and were able to spread the court and find our cutters. We tried just about everything in our little arsenal—and the arsenal isn't very big. Hopefully it will get bigger," said Trenkle.

The wheels started falling off in the fourth when Wood River made six turnovers. Filer crept back in, led by senior Dan Ramseyer (all 11 points after half) and senior David Ryan (12 of his 16 after intermission). Ryan got the roll on a lane drive with 12 seconds left for a 49-47 Filer lead.

It could have been called a charge. But it wasn't. Trenkle's other "what if" was the Femling give-and-go layup that could have given Wood River a four-point lead with 1:45 left—but the ball just wouldn't go down. Fortunately, Christino picked up a loose ball at the foul line and banked it home, 49-49.

Cory Rutkowski (7 points, 2 boards), a sophomore who showed a cool head out there, scored all four Wood River points in the first OT. Then a fallaway jumper by Filer's Paul Gerrish (16 points) tied it 53-53 and sent it into a second four-minute OT.

Femling's coast-to-coast drive tied it 55-55 midway through the second OT. But Wood River just couldn't get to the free throw line, despite having a 10-5 advantage in fouls. Gerrish's 3-pointer with 1:42 left was the final Filer dagger, as Uhrig missed a couple of 3-pointers in the final minute.

Sophomore Corbin Miniard, finished with 6 points/6 rebounds. Casey Lane added 3 boards and 2 assists.

Thursday night, Wood River (0-3, 0-1 league) came out strong against Minico at Rupert and surged ahead 9-2 after the first quarter. Shooting 11 airballs for the game, though, Wood River suffered through the middle quarters—outpointed by Minico 20-7 in them—and eventually fell 38-20.

Femling scored 8 points and Christino 6.

Meanwhile, coach John Radford's Wood River junior varsity (1-2) earned its first win of the 2004-05 season Friday at Filer. The Wolverines built a 36-22 half-time lead and held on for a 59-48 victory over the JV Wildcats.

Eric Jacobson, a 6-4 freshman, topped Wood River with 17 points and 5-11 sophomore Sigi Paredes chipped in with 15. David Sibrian had 12 including two 3-pointers, Danny Sibrian added 7 points, Josh Van Dyke 6 and Travis Beckman 2.

The JV had lost to Minico and Century in its first two games by identical 55-33 scores.

Next: The Wood River teams travel to Idaho Falls for back-to-back games against Hillcrest and Bonneville Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11. Then, Wood River entertains the Buhl Tribe Tuesday, Dec. 14 in Hailey.

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