THOMAS — The Snake River student body chanted "He's a sophomore," on more than one occasion on Friday evening. They had good reason for the chant as a pair of sophomores put on a shooting clinic for the Panthers with Jacoby Johnson and Cole Rushton leading the way with 18 and 19 points apiece in a 64-56 home victory over Aberdeen.
"I have a lot of younger kids that are playing well and I felt that Cole had a great game tonight," Snake River head coach Bob Coombs said. "He's come a long ways and he just makes us that much better because that's another kid that you will have to guard."
Snake River opened the night with a quick 12-2 run, keyed by a pair of treys from Rushton in the games first 4-minutes. After a time out by the Aberdeen bench, play evened out but the damage had been done as Snake River carried a 17-5 advantage into the second period of play.
"Our kids held tough, Snake River is awful good and I'm proud of them," Aberdeen head coach Cory Hollingsworth said. "Snake River plays such tough defense so it was a challenge for us both ways. I was happy with how we competed and happy with how we fought back because it was feeling pretty shaky to start."
Second quarter play was an offensive show, with both squads heating up from the perimeter. Snake River's sharpshooting guard, Candon Watt drilled a pair in the quarter while Aberdeen's Bronson Goff and Zeke Uribe kept pace with treys of their own.
"I thought that it was a pretty big game for Bronson," coach Hollingsworth said. "He went to school here in Snake River up through junior high and I know that it meant a lot for him to come back and play well, which he did."
Snake River built upon their 11-point half time advantage in the third stanza, eventually stretching the lead out to as many as 17 at a couple of different occasions but Aberdeen was not going away anytime soon as Jake Ponce and Zed Uribe continued their hot hands from the floor.
Uribe knocked down 4 treys in the second half, the last a 30+ footer with :25 remaining in the contest, pulling the Tigers to within 61-56.
"I thought that we were doing okay, we got the lead up to 17 a couple of times and it felt like we were going to put it away but you have to give Aberdeen credit, they shot the ball extremely well and are one of the best shooting teams that we've seen," coach Coombs said. "When they did make their runs I felt that we did a good job of stepping up, hit some shots and kept them at bay. Overall a pretty good game."
Snake River never panicked however, as Keegan Keller stepped up too the free throw line, knocking down a pair to keep the Tigers at arms length in their comeback attempt.
Aberdeen (3-9) will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Firth while Snake River (9-1, 2-0) will travel to Bear Lake next Thursday.
AHS 5 21 10 20 - 56
SRHS 17 20 15 12 - 64
Aberdeen - Zeke Uribe 17, Bronson Goff 13, Mike Wynn 4, Jake Ponce 17, McClain Foster 5 FT - 8/12 fouls - 16 fouled out - McClain Foster, Alex Ure
Snake River - Jacoby Johnson 18, Keegan Keller 4, Cole Rushton 19, Candon Watt 14, C.J. Toulouse 9 FT - 8/16 fouls - 19 fouled out - Martin Hrabik