The Firth Cougars shook off a low-scoring first half with a pair of big runs in the second half as they took care of business on the first game of the 2A Nuclear Conference Tournament with a 55-34 victory over North Fremont.
"Give North Fremont credit, they've played us tough all three times that they have played us this year," Firth head coach Scott Adams said. "We have a lot of inexperienced kids playing in their first district tournament game and we probably came out a little nervous."
North Fremont came out playing a little stall ball against the high powered Cougars as they made a definite effort to slow the pace of the game down. Conversely, Firth was looking to run on every opportunity which led to a little impatience by the men in blue as they turned the ball over on 7 different occasions in the first half of play which allowed the Huskies to stay close as the first half ended with Firth leading by just one at 18-17.
Second half action was more to the Firth faithfuls expectations as the Cougars pulled away from North Fremont courtesy of a 10-2 run over the final three minutes of the third quarter.
That momentum spilled over into the fourth quarter as the Cougars opened with a huge 16-1 run to start the final stanza, pushing the lead out to 48-24.
Mitch Orme was a key contributer in both runs as he converted on a pair of old fashioned three point plays when he took the ball to the hole, scored and was fouled.
"Mostly we executed a lot better in the second half," Coach Adams said. "We made a few adjustments with our players and where they lined up but I think that the biggest thing was that we showed more patience and we attacked the basket."
Indeed the patience paid off as Firth committed just 2 second half turnovers. The aggressiveness to the basket paid dividends as well as the Cougars finished a perfect 11 of 11 from the charity stripe.
Perhaps most impressive with the second half run was the fact that several key contributers were on the bench saddled with foul trouble and young studs like Chace Brewington and Quinn Alvey came off the bench to contribute big minutes when they mattered most.
"When we pulled away we had a bunch of young kids like Chace and Quinn in the game," Coach Adams said. "They really stepped up for us and it's something that we've talked about all year long. Being ready when your number is called and they did that."
With the win Firth improves to 19-2 on the season and they will next play in the semi-final game Thursday evening at South Fremont High School. Tip off will be 7:30 P.M.
"I expect that we will play Butte but I wouldn't be surprised if Ririe was there," Coach Adams said. "I really have no preference because right now we are just worried about our team and getting prepared to play to our best ability."
FIRTH 55, NORTH FREMONT 34
NORTH FREMONT 7 10 6 11 - 34
FIRTH 10 8 14 23 - 55
North Fremont (34) - Tyler Hess 11, Nathan Toenjes 1, Josh Smith 2, Tagg Jeppesen 8, Kris Eldinger 3, Dalton Leatham 3, Caden Hyde 4, Taylor Hansen 2. FG: 10-19. FT: 11-19. 3-pointers 3-10 (Hess 2, Leatham). Fouls: 17. Fouled out: (none).
Firth (55) - Braden Boyer 2, Chace Brewington 9, Kent Jolley 12, Brenner Coughlan 9, Mitch Orme 17, Jacob Fielding 6. FG: 21-37. FT: 11-11. 3-pointers: 2-4 (Brewington, Coughlan). Fouls: 16. Fouled out: (none).