Wolverine girls host Jerome for "Senior Night" Thursday
"Senior Night" for the Wood River High School girls' basketball team Thursday, Jan. 20 in Hailey will offer an opponent that hasn't been too kind to the Wolverines over many years.
That's the Jerome Tigers, three-time defending Great Basin Conference champions. Jerome has dominated the Wolverines on the basketball court for 28 years and has won 72 of the 81 games between the two teams dating back to 1976.
Opening tipoff is Thursday about 7:30 p.m. Wood River coach Mendy Benson is hoping the Wolverines will attract a large, enthusiastic crowd—like they did in a 47-43 home league victory over Twin Falls Jan. 6.
It's been a long drought. Let's put it this way, since third-year head coach Benson (35-24 at WRHS) was eight years old, Jerome is 58-1 in girls' hoops games against Hailey.
Jerome has won 15 straight games over Wood River since a 32-23 Wolverine win in Hailey Dec. 9, 2004. Before that victory, Jerome teams had won 43 straight girls' games over Wood River dating back to 1983.
Last season when Wood River went 17-7, Jerome trounced the Wolverines by 29, 22 and 12 points and limited top Hailey scorer Kaitana Martinez to seven points in three games. In the first meeting of the teams this season, Jerome won at home 40-33 Dec. 16 and held Martinez (18.8 ppg) to four.
Coach Benson is looking for a better effort Thursday as Wood River (13-1, 8-0 home, 6-1 league) tries to round into post-season form. After all, Wood River is 19-1 at home over two years, the only loss 41-29 to visiting Jerome (10-6, 4-3) Dec. 3.
Last Friday the Wolverines (50.2 ppg offense, 36.4 defense) swept the season series with Burley 52-31 as Martinez (4 rebounds, 4 steals, 6 assists) scored 25 points including a season-high five 3-pointers. She scored nine of the final 11 Hailey points as the home team stretched its lead from 12 with 4:40 left to the final 21 points.
Burley wasn't particularly pleased that Martinez ripped home a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin. However, some of the Bobcats might have had short memories about winning 42 of 47 games against Wolverine teams from 1976-2009—before Benson's last two squads won five of the last six games between the two schools.
Five of six Wolverines scored points in Friday's 16-8 second-quarter surge that built a 28-19 halftime lead over Burley (3-12, 2-5 league). Wood River kept up the flow in the second half and has now scored in double digits in 45 of the 56 quarters the team has played.
Senior Allie Hesteness (4.1 ppg) matched her season-high with nine points against Burley. Top Bobcat was Chelsee Baker (15 points including three 3-pointers). Wood River out-rebounded Burley 30-16.
Other WRHS contributors included Haylee Thompson (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block), Cheyenne Swanson (6 points, 6 boards), Haillie Taylor (2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists), Jade Glenn (2 points, 1 block) and Hunter Thompson (3 boards and 3 assists).
Benson expected another tough game from the Minico Spartans (5-10, 2-5 league) on Tuesday night in Rupert. Defensively, Minico played Wood River as tough as any team during a 44-38 Wolverine victory on the Hailey floor Dec. 10.
If Wood River beat Minico Tuesday, the Wolverines will carry a six-game win streak into Thursday's Jerome clash. Then the Hailey girls travel to Twin Falls (12-3, 6-1) on Tuesday, Jan. 25 for a big one. The Bruins won at home 62-50 over Jerome Friday and prevailed 50-41 at Minico Jan. 11.
At stake in the next week are the final seeding positions for the six-team Great Basin Conference tournament starting Tuesday, Feb. 1. The conference gets two berths this year to the State 4A tournament Feb. 17-19 at Timberline High, Boise.
Panther boys pull out close road wins
With their challenging schedule this winter, the Carey High School Panther boys are finding that close basketball games are the rule rather than the exception. So far, the Panthers are winning close games.
Carey (11-2, 2-0 league) picked up two nail-biting road triumphs late last week. The Panthers beat the Oakley Hornets 46-41 Thursday for a two-game season sweep and escaped with a harrowing 47-44 Northside Conference win over Dietrich's Blue Devils Friday.
Seven of the 13 Panther games have been settled by eight points or less. Carey is 6-1 in those games. During last winter's State 1A Division 2 runner-up campaign, Carey was 4-3 in its seven close eight-point-and-under games, out of 26 games played. Two of those close games came at state.
Leading scorer Blair Peck (15.3 ppg) scored 17 points and junior Dillon Cenarrusa continued his fine play with 14 points at Oakley. Other scorers were Baley Barg (4 points), Caleb Cenarrusa (3), Shane Bingham (2) and Joe Laidlaw 1.
Falling behind 21-18 at Dietrich Friday, the Panthers rallied with Peck tallying 14 of his game-high 18 points after halftime. Andrew Howard (12) and Gray Weber (11) topped the Blue Devils (5-5, 1-1). Barg added 12 more for Carey.
Other Carey contributors were Baird (6 points), Caleb Cenarrusa (4), Dillon Cenarrusa (4), Chance Chavez (2) and Laidlaw (1). Carey will host Dietrich Feb. 1 to complete the home-and-home series.
Carey (7-0 home), winners of four straight with seven left to play, hosted Camas County (3-9, 1-1) Tuesday night and goes to Richfield (3-6, 1-1) on Friday, Jan. 21. The Panthers visit The Community School Jan. 25.
Dietrich outscores Carey girls
The Dietrich Blue Devil girls (11-1) were hot from 3-point range (4 trifectas) and outscored visiting Carey 11-6 at the free throw line en route to a 55-42 Northside Conference win Thursday in the first meeting of the season between the foes.
Shayla Porter (11 points) led Dietrich. Carey scorers were Micaela Adamson (12 points), Jaide Parke (9), Nicky Gomez (8), McKayla Mecham (6), Lilly Rivera (5) and Morgan Parke (2). The Panthers (6-7, 1-2 league) hosted Camas Tuesday and visit Richfield Thursday.
Boys tough in zone, but Filer ekes out 41-32 win
Coach John Radford's Wood River High School boys' basketball team put together strong back-to-back defensive efforts last week in 49-33 and 41-32 losses to powerful Minico of Rupert and the Filer Wildcats.
Wood River was particularly tough in its zone defense Saturday during the nine-point home loss to Filer—a team that had beaten the Wolverines by 28 points Dec. 3. Radford praised the effort of his players.
Junior Stone Sutton (17.6 ppg) continued to lead Wood River in scoring with 16 points against Filer. Sutton (6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 3 blocked shots) drilled two 3-pointers, making it 10 3s in the last four games.
Senior Alex Padilla (11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) enjoyed his best shooting game while sophomore Ben Williams (3 points) and junior Quentin Dowdle (2 points, 3 boards, 3 steals) chipped in valuable minutes.
Other contributors included Luis Chavez (3 boards), Mica Merritt (2 rebounds) and Dylan Carey (2 steals). Wood River shot 10-for-13 at the free throw line and built a 14-13 halftime lead. Filer ended up with three players in double figures—Ryan Karel (10 points), Austin Tews (10 points) and Jared Allen (10 points, 5 rebounds). Jed Oyler had seven boards.
Thursday at Rupert, Sutton's 18 points and rugged defense helped Hailey play evenly against Great Basin Conference leader Minico (11-1, 4-0). Minico led 21-20 at half. Other points came from Padilla (7 points), Dowdle (4) and Merritt (4).
Coach Radford, working with only a few bench players all season, said he hoped 6-3 junior post Pedro Contreras would be ready to play by Jan. 24. If so, Contreras would offer Radford another option for the final eight games.
Wood River (0-10, 0-3 league) hosts Burley (1-10, 0-4) Friday, Jan. 21 and goes to Canyon Ridge (4-7, 1-2) in Twin Falls Monday, Jan. 24.