Russets open district tournament with win over Bees
SHELLEY — The Shelley Russets drilled 11 three point baskets, 4 of those from the hot shooting Chad Leckington, as the Men in Red disposed of the Bonneville Bees 72-52 in the first round of the sixth district tournament at Shelley High School on Tuesday night.
"I thought that the first team that got out of their execution to get the threes was going to lose and I thought that was a big key," Shelley head coach Dave Hadley said. "Offensively, this was about what I had hoped for. I thought that if we pushed the ball and executed that we would be able to get open looks against them and our execution was better than it has been all year."
First quarter play was frenetic as the teams tried to settle in to a groove in front of a capacity, raucous crowd. The quarter witnessed 7 lead changes as the teams jabbed at each other like a heavyweight prize fight.
Junior guard, T.J. Stommel threw the biggest punch in the round, knocking down a three ball from the corner with 0:06 remaining, giving the the Russets a 12-10 advantage.
Stommel tried the other corner on the first offensive possession of the second quarter, putting the Russets up by two possessions as the game settled into a shooters paradise.
"We talk all the time, right from the first day of practice that you never know when your going to get a chance to be a hero and T.J. was a hero for us there," coach Hadley said. "We didn't start the game very good offensively. When T.J. hit those two shots everybody else went okay, there's a guy off the bench that's relaxed and shooting it well, let's all relax and I think that we did just that after he hit those."
Leading 29-25 entering the third quarter, Shelley was about to turn in a clinic from behind the arc. Bonneville was able to get the opening tally of the quarter, connecting on a bucket, plus the foul, closing the gap to just 1-point.
Shelley got a bucket back as McKay Cannon found Chad Cather on the low block and then the skies opened and the rain fell.
Not precipitation mind you, but a rain storm of treys as Shelley connected on five straight as Chad Leckington, Will Higham, McKay Cannon and Jason Christensen each dialed long distance for the Russets.
"The last two or three three's we got out of stuff that we put in yesterday offensively and the kids ran it real well," coach Hadley said. "I thought that the kids were comfortable because they knew that they were getting double screens and were just catching the ball and shooting."
Not to be out done, Bonneville also connected on 3 treys of their own, eventually pulling the score to within 43-40. Shelley closed out the quarter, appropriately enough on an 8-2 run, capped by a Cannon trey that was launched somewhere near the Bonneville County line, giving the Russets a 12-point bulge heading into the final stanza.
Shelley methodically pulled away from Bonneville down the stretch for the eventual 20-point win on the scoreboard, although the contest was indeed closer than the final score indicated.
Next up for Shelley (12-9) is a road date at Hillcrest for round two of the conference tournament. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 P.M.
"Hillcrest has handled us pretty good two times this year," coach Hadley said. "We'll go and watch some film and try to dissect what they are going to try and do and hopefully we will be able to slow then down like we did Bonneville and give us a chance. This time of year that's all you can ask."
BHS 10 15 17 10 - 52
SHS 12 17 25 18 - 72
Bonneville - Kalin Keck 9, Jake Harper 6, Andrew Roybal 4, Dylan Black 16, Jared Stutzman 8, Riley Rowberry 2, Kohl Hostert 7; FT - 10/16; 3pt - 6 (Dylan Black 3, Kalin Keck 2, Jared Stutzman 1) fouled out - Kalin Keck, Jake Harper
Shelley - Jason Christensen 12, T.J. Stommel 6, Chad Leckington 18, Chad Cather 12, Will Higham 4, Derek Wilson 2, McKay Cannon 12, Christian Mendoza 6; FT - 17/22; 3pt - 11 (Chad Leckington 4, Jason Christensen 2, T. J. Stommel 2, McKay Cannon 2) fouled out - none