BLACKFOOT — After back-to-back treys by Blackfoot's Beau Hoskins and Trae Pilster the Broncos and the Russets were locked at 48-48 with just over a minute remaining.
On the ensuing offensive possession, Shelley point guard McKay Cannon hit a streaking Chad Cather behind the Blackfoot press for a quick lay up, giving the Russets a lead that they never surrendered in a huge 55-48 victory at Blackfoot High School.
"This was a big conference game because Blackfoot has been playing extremely well lately," Shelley head coach Dave Hadley said. "I'll tell you, of all the teams that we have played so far, they play as hard as anyone we have seen. If a ball is going out of bounds I guarantee that someone is diving on the floor and the other four guys are there backing them up. Yea, it's a Bingham County game but more importantly, it's our first conference win and it was a big game for us."
The game was a classic see-saw affair that witnessed big runs and several lead changes throughout the contest as both squads fought for the initial High Country Conference win between the county rivals.
Shelley had the better of it in the first quarter, opening a 10-7 lead, but in the second quarter Blackfoot came back, opening the stanza with a nice 10-2 run, forcing a time out by the Russets with a 17-2 lead.
Out of the time out Shelley continued their offensive game plan against the Blackfoot zone defense however and they were rewarded down the stretch as Chad Leckington capped a 12-4 run with a three ball from the wing at the buzzer for a 24-21 Russet advantage heading into half-time.
"Blackfoot did what we thought that they were going to do and to be honest with you, we missed about five wide open three point shots by three great three point shooters," coach Hadley said. "I thought that if those are the shots that we are going to get, and if we knock those down we could have been up 15 which would have made this a totally different ball game."
That hot perimeter shooting spilled over into the third quarter with Jason Christensen drilling a pair of deep treys to open the quarter, pushing the lead to 30-21.
Blackfoot turned to their half-court press at that point, forcing several Shelley turnovers and then capitalized on those with a 11-0 run and a 32-30 lead.
"They did a great job with that soft half court, three quarter type press and we didn't attack it very well," coach Hadley said. "Once we got that figured out I thought that we got a couple of lay ups which allowed for us to relax a little bit. For the most part the kids did a pretty good job aside from that 3 minute stretch where we panicked a little bit."
The game remained close for most of the fourth quarter. Shelley was able to get some breathing room late in the quarter when Chad Cather and Chad Leckington each tallied three point plays the hard way with the hoop and the harm, pushing the lead to 48-40 with just over a minute remaining.
On the ensuing offensive possession, Blackfoot got a big three in the corner by Beau Hoskins when Alonzo Ramos found him in the corner. A quick turnover by the full court pressure led to another three ball in the corner, this one off the hands of Trae Pilster and in a blink of an eye, the game was tied at 48-48.
"I thought that we were poised to build upon our last two games," Blackfoot head coach Jonathan Packer said. "I thought that the kids were ready to have a good game, everyone is disappointed. I could have coached better, the kids could have played better but we will just have too come back tomorrow."
That was the last threat of the evening by the Broncos however, as Cannon found Cather for the go ahead score and then 5 of 6 from the charity stripe sealed the win for the Russets.
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday with Shelley (5-5, 1-4) hosting South Fremont and Blackfoot (4-7, 1-3) traveling to Bonneville. They will come together for a rematch at Shelley on February 9.
SHS 10 14 8 23 - 55
BHS 7 14 13 14 - 48
Shelley (55) - Jason Christensen 15, T. J. Stommel 3, Chad Leckington 9, Chad Cather 14, Derek Wilson 6, McKay Cannon 4, Christian Mendoza 4 rebounds (25) Cather 7, assists (14) Cannon 8 FT - 12/17 3-pointers 7/18 (Christensen 4, Leckington 2, Stommel) fouls - 11 fouled out - none
Blackfoot (48) - Trae Pilster 6, Beau Hoskins 15, Alonzo Ramos 4, Cody Cunningham 2, Colby Pearson 4, Collin Rockwood 9, Sam Cannon 8 rebounds (24) Pearson 6 assists (7) Ramos 3 FT - 7/10 3-pointers 5/18 (Pilster 2, Hoskins 2, Rockwood) fouls - 16 fouled out - none