Friday, February 16, 2007

Wolverines fall in defensive struggle

Burley wins 42-29 in first round of district tournament

Express Staff Writer

Normally high-scoring Wolverine Cory Rutkowski (center) was held to only four points in a defensive clash Tuesday with the Burley Bobcats in an opening game of the Great Basin West tournament. Rutkowski is shown going for the bucket in an earlier game this season against Burley. At left is Bobcat Colton Moon and at right is Bobcat Ben Searle. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Wood River High School varsity basketball squad put on a good defensive show in their opening game of the Great Basin West district tournament Tuesday, but couldn't generate enough offense to beat Burley on the Bobcats' home court.

They held the 20-1 top-ranked Bobcats to 42 points, but Burley had a defensive strategy of its own to win the contest 42-29.

Wood River coach John Radford said the Bobcats focused their defense on keeping normally high-scoring Wolverines Erik Jacobson and Cory Rutkowski out of the scoring lanes.

"It was obvious that was their focus, and they did a pretty good job of it," he said.

The strategy apparently worked, Rutkowski scored only four points and Jacobson was held pointless.

The 9-12 Wolverines didn't go down easily. After trailing 22-9 at halftime, Wood River outscored the Bobcats 18-10 in the third period when Siberian brothers Danny and David went on a scoring rampage, accounting for 16 of Wood River's 18 points for the quarter.

But the Bobcats tightened up their defense for the final frame, holding Wood River to a single field goal.

David Siberian led Wood River with 12 points, while Danny Siberian had eight.

Burley was led by Ben Searle with 19 points and Kyle Hepworth with 12.

In other Great Basin West district action Tuesday, Jerome defeated Minico 58-54.

The Wolverines got one more crack at a state tournament berth Thursday night when they traveled to Rupert to take on the Spartans in a loser-out game of the double elimination tournament.

Burley hosted Jerome Thursday, with the loser of that match set to play the winner of the Wood River-Minico contest on Saturday. The district championship game is scheduled for Monday.

"We're still alive—we're still breathing," Radford said Thursday morning.

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