Just six games into the season, Wood River boys' basketball has exceeded last year's win total after beating Middleton 56-49 in Hailey Wednesday night to improve to 3-3.
"We played pretty solid at times and, at times, we didn't," said Wood River head coach Fred Trenkle. "Overall it was just one of those games where the kids felt they had control over them all night. It was a good solid win."
Junior Corbin Miniard dominated, leading the Wolverines with 12 points. Fellow junior Cory Rutkowski and senior Cooper McCroskey followed with 10 points apiece.
Middleton's Tyler Okamura, a junior, recorded a game-best 17 points, followed by fellow junior Trent Harrison with 13.
Both teams started slow, looking nervous in the opening moments of the game with badly missed shots and numerous turnovers.
Midway through the first quarter, Wood River led just 4-3. Class 3A Middleton (1-5) would take a 12-8 lead in the final minute of the opening quarter before Rutkowski sunk a three-pointer to keep the Wolverines within one point.
The Wolverines came to life in the second quarter behind the speed and hot hands of McCroskey, who opened with two quick scores. Wood River built a 10-point lead, 32-22, shortly before the half, but the Vikings exploded with five unanswered points in the final 54 seconds. The Wolverines led 32-27 at the break.
Middleton fought back in the third quarter, regaining the lead, 33-32, with 3:30 left. Harrison sunk a three-pointer less than a minute later to give the Vikings a 36-33 lead. Wood River's Morgan Uhrig, a senior, answered with his own three to tie the game at the two-minute mark. A trio of free throws from Miniard (one) and Uhrig (two) put the Wolverines back on top—41-38—for good as the quarter came to an end.
A pair of buckets from Middleton's Harrison kept the Vikings close in the opening moments of the final quarter, 43-42, but a three-point play from Miniard midway through the period gave the Wolverines some breathing room. Solid defense and smart shots from the Wolverines sealed the deal, 50-44, with just under two minutes to play.
Middleton's Okamura earned the sportsmanship award for the game.
Wood River hosted Challis last night and faces Minico in Rupert Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
As for Challis, Trenkle was expecting a dog fight.
"We know the kids pretty well, they were in summer camp with us, so it's almost like friends playing friends," he said. "It's kind of like family against family ... sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not.
"Whoever is the toughest dog in the fight will win."