It's never easy for Wood River High School basketball teams going up against the Jerome Tigers and last week's girls' and boys' 4A league games were another example.
Jerome's girls, led by 20 points from senior point guard Carrie Thibault, dropped the defensive hammer on Wood River's 54.5 ppg offense and handed Hailey its first loss 40-33 at Jerome Thursday.
The Jerome boys were too much for Wood River 56-28 Friday on the Hailey hardwoods.
Girls (8-1) absorb first league loss
Much as Minico did in its 44-28 loss to Wood River Dec. 10 in Hailey, Jerome's strategy was to take leading Wolverine scorer Kaitana Martinez out of the game and let the other Wood River players beat them.
The strategy worked well thanks to Jerome's excellent team defense.
Three-time defending Great Basin Conference tournament champion Jerome held Martinez (20.2 ppg) to a season low four points before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Wood River ended up shooting 33% from the field compared to Jerome's 46% for the game. Martinez was 2-of-13 from the field and Wood River was 0-for-6 from 3-point range.
Still, it was close all the way, Jerome leading 21-18 at half and 27-22 entering the fourth quarter. The Tigers shot 14-of-21 at the free throw line as Oregon Tech-bound Thibault finishing with 8-of-10 at the stripe. The final score favored Jerome 40-33.
Haylee Thompson (10 points, 5 rebounds) finished with her ninth straight double-digit game of the season for Wood River.
Other contributors were Cheyenne Swanson (8 points, 8 boards), Martinez (3 assists), Taylor Hayes (8 points, 2 assists, 4-of-6 free throws), Jade Glenn (2 points) and Allie Hesteness (1 point, 2 steals, 2 assists).
It wasn't a win, but there was progress especially with yet another good defensive game by Wood River (37.4 ppg on defense). Last year, three of Wood River's seven losses came to eventual State 4A third-place Jerome including 22-point and 29-point beatings in the Tiger den.
Wood River (8-1, 3-1 league) is now in second place in the six-team GBC, a game ahead of Jerome (7-3, 2-2) and a game behind Twin Falls (9-2, 4-0). Rounding out the league are Minico (3-7, 1-3), Canyon Ridge (5-5, 1-3) and Burley (2-9, 1-3).
Snow and bad roads postponed Saturday's scheduled game against Hillcrest in Idaho Falls. It was the third game wiped out by weather for the Hailey girls this season. Two postponed games against Mountain Home won't be made up. There was no word on a Hillcrest reschedule.
Tiger boys double up WRHS
The Jerome Tigers (5-2, 1-0) opened up Great Basin Conference league play Friday night by doubling up the Wood River Wolverine boys 56-28 on the Hailey hardwoods.
Jerome, building a 28-13 halftime lead, ended up with nine players scoring points led by Spencer Geist's 14 (four 3-pointers). Wood River's Stone Sutton had 18 points. Other scorers were Alex Padilla (7 points), Kevin Jensen (2) and Quentin Dowdle (1).
In Friday's league debuts, Twin Falls (5-1, 1-0) slipped past host Canyon Ridge (2-5, 0-1) 57-53 in overtime, and host Minico (5-1, 1-0) beat Burley (1-5, 0-1) by a 58-22 count.
Wood River (0-6, 0-1 league) had two games rescheduled last week.
The Dec. 14 non-conference games at Buhl were postponed due to a power outage at Buhl. It is now set for Monday, Jan. 31 at Buhl with the freshmen starting at 4:30 p.m. followed by junior varsity and varsity.
Due to a scheduling conflict, Canyon Ridge High School had to reset its Jan. 7 home games with Wood River. Those games are now scheduled for Monday, Jan. 24, freshmen and JV at 5 p.m. and varsity 7 p.m.
Goddard's double-double lifts Cutthroat girls
By JASON LYNCH
Express Staff Writer
Natalie Goddard scored 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and Ella Marks dropped 13 as The Community School defeated Twin Falls Christian Academy in prep girls' basketball at Twin Falls Thursday, Dec. 16.
It sent the Cutthroats (2-3) into Christmas break on a two-game win streak and with a ton of optimism about the season's second half.
Goddard's double-double was complimented by excellent team support. Seniors Chelsea Cloud (7 points, 9 rebounds) and Julie Doan (8 points, 2 rebounds) gave the visitors the leadership they needed to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a two-point lead after three quarters.
Taylor Figge has become a big player for the Cutthroats this year and she chipped in with five rebounds and four assists, while Paige Riedinger scored a bucket for the visitors.
Scoring in double figures each period, the Cutthroats won their first road game of the season and shot a season-best 10-for-16 at the line.
Twin Falls Christian was led by Hannah Glaze's 13 points, with Megan Fenderson (7 points), Rachel Glaze (6), Amanda Miller (6), Gabby Bolyard (5) and Annie Brown (1) rounding out the Warriors' scoring.
Goddard's play has given the Cutthroats much-needed energy this season. The Cutthroat senior post player has been a double-double threat in every game. Coach Erika Connelly knows she's her team's key.
"Natalie has been so important this year. She is having a great season, but her shoulder is in bad shape and needs surgery," said the first-year head coach.
Goddard is scheduled to have the surgery soon, and will miss the remainder of the season as a result, but Connelly is hopeful her recent play will give her a reason to reconsider. "We support her either way," Connelly emphasized, "but she has been playing great basketball lately and we obviously need her."
The Cutthroats return to competitive basketball Jan. 4 at Carey and host Twin Falls Christian Thursday, Jan. 6 at The Fish Tank.