IDAHO FALLS — The Blackfoot Bronco basketball team opened their 2010-11 campaign on Wednesday evening, traveling north up I-15 to tangle with the 5A Tigers of Idaho Falls.
At the end of the night, the home standing Tigers held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the Broncos by hitting 18 of 22 free throw attempts in the stanza, handing the Broncos a 76-62 loss.
"Overall I'm pretty happy with the way that we played we saw what we did well," Blackfoot head coach Jonathan Packer said. "The offense was pretty good for the week we've had to practice. We found out what we don't do well right now and that is transition defense and rebounds."
The night started well enough for the Broncos as Sam Cannon dialed long distance for a quick 3-0 lead. From there the first quarter was highly entertaining as both teams slugged it out in a period that witnessed 3 ties and 3 lead changes.
At the end of the stanza Idaho Falls held a slim 16-15 lead.
Behind strong rebounding, that lead grew to 37-25 by the half however as the bigger Tigers pounded the Broncos on the glass. In the half Blackfoot collected just 6 rebounds compared to 19 by the Tigers.
"We will have to get better at rebounding if we want to get any better," coach Packer said. "I think that we will, we have good kids with a lot of heart. We didn't get everything into this first game that we needed and we found out what we need to work on and we will when we get back at practice."
Blackfoot did a better job on the glass in the second half as they began chipping away at an Idaho Falls lead that swelled to as many as 17-points early in the third quarter.
With 4:30 remaining in the fourth Blackfoot cut the lead to 6-points as Beau Hoskins picked the pocket of the Idaho Falls ball handler and pitched the ball forward to a sprinting Trae Pilster who layed the ball in as the Idaho Falls defender slapped the back board, prompting a technical foul to be called.
Colin Rockwood knocked down both free throws and on the ensuing offensive possession Pilster was fouled sending the junior to the line where he hit 1 of the 2 free throws.
That was all the Broncos could muster however as Idaho Falls sealed the win from the charity stripe down the stretch, sending Blackfoot home with the non-conference loss.
"Idaho Falls is always a physical team so it was a good test," coach Packer said. "We have some kids that are new to varsity play and now they know what it is like. They have been punched in the mouth and we'll see how they respond."
Blackfoot (0-1) will travel to Pocatello on Saturday for a game with the Indians tipping off at 7:30 P.M.
Blackfoot 15 10 14 13 - 62
Idaho Falls 16 21 12 27- 76
Blackfoot (62) - Pilster 16, Hoskins 4, Ramos 10, Pearson 3, Maldonado 2, Rockwood 10, Woods 2, Cannon 15 Rebounds (20) Cannon 5 Assists (12) Ramos 3, Rockwood 3
Idaho Falls (76) - Romrell 2, Baker 10, Craig 24, Despot 3, Graham 3, McCarthy 23, Andrus 12 Rebounds (36) Andrus 10 Assists (7) McCarthy 3