BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot head coach Jonathan Packer is fond of saying that win or lose the goal is to get better the next day.
On Friday evening, the Blackfoot Broncos showed that they are indeed better than they were just two nights previous, as they held off a furious Rigby fourth quarter rally, and then pulled away from the Trojans for a 65-53 conference victory.
"We're learning how to win, this game was about learning how to finish and get a win," coach Packer said.
Blackfoot came out firing from the opening tip with Sam Cannon and Beau Hoskins each nailing treys in a 17-7 run to begin the contest. That 10-point bulge held to the half and as the teams sprinted to the locker room, Blackfoot led 33-23.
"I'm real happy for Beau," coach Packer said. "He's worked hard on his shot in practice to get his shot back and it looked good out there. He's always there for us defensively and he makes a difference when we put him on the floor."
Utilizing a 1-3-1 zone look on the defensive end, Blackfoot confused the Rigby offense, forcing the visiting Trojans to shoot just 4 for 26 from behind the arc. Meanwhile the Trojans went man-to-man where Blackfoot was able to find plenty of back cuts and driving lanes, leading to a trio of Broncos in double-digits in the scoring column.
"We are built for balanced scoring and thats the way I like it," coach Packer said. "The guys are really unselfish and it makes us tough to guard when we are like that."
Hoskins led the charge with 22-points while Cannon and Trae Pilster each added 12 as Blackfoot built a 52-38 advantage heading into the final quarter of play.
Blackfoot had been down this road once before however because on Wednesday evening, the Broncos held a big lead to begin the fourth quarter at Hillcrest.
On Friday night, the Trojans tried to mount a comeback, opening the final stanza on a 8-0 run to pull within 6-points with 3:40 remaining.
Blackfoot learned from the Hillcrest contest though, and after taking a deep breath and a quick time out, the Broncos responded to the threat as Pilster found Cannon down low on the block for an easy bucket and then moments later Cannon was fouled and the senior cashed in with a pair of charity tosses to regain the 10-point bulge.
From there Blackfoot played with poise and confidence, driving to the hole when the opportunity presented itself while continuing there stingy zone look on the defensive end until the final buzzer sounded and in so doing, taking a very large monkey off the Broncos back.
"I think that the kids kind of remembered the Hillcrest game and thought not this time. We're better than this and that was just the attitude that we had," coach Packer said. "You don't want to get too high on a win, or too low on a loss and we know that it's a long season and this is just one win in districts and our goal is to be there at the end and if we keep that attitude we'll be there."
Blackfoot (2-5, 1-2) will return to action next Wednesday when they travel across the river for the rematch with the Snake River Panthers.
BLACKFOOT 65, RIGBY 53
Rigby 14 9 15 15 - 53
Blackfoot 19 14 19 13 - 65
Rigby (53) - Tate Politas 7, Dallin Poulson 2, Kamen McCullough 20, Nate Clark 12, JonRyheem Peoples 4, Dylan Jones 8 rebounds (26) Dylan Jones 6 assists (7) Nate Clark 3 FT- 9/14 3-pointers 4/26 (Kamen McCullough 3, Dylan Jones) Fouls - 20 Fouled out - Tate Polatis
Blackfoot (65) - Trae Pilster 12, Beau Hoskins 22, Alonzo Ramos 6, Colby Pearson 2, Gabby Maldonado 2, Collin Rockwood 9, Sam Cannon 12 rebounds (26) Alonzo Ramos 7 assists (11) Trae Pilster 4 FT - 13/21 3-pointers 6/18 (Sam Cannon 2, Beau Hoskins 2, Trae Pilster, Alonzo Ramos) Fouls - 15 Fouled out - none