POCATELLO — The dream of a state tournament bid remained alive on Thursday evening as the Snake River Lady Panthers took care of business with a 45-35 win over Bear Lake at Highland High School.
Bear Lake held their only lead of the game at 2-0 before Snake River reeled off 10 straight points, 6 of those courtesy of Shayla Christensen, who drained a pair of three balls in the first quarter to put the Lady Panthers up for good on the evening.
"I thought that Shayla in the first half when we weren't getting our stuff down low was huge," Snake River head coach Steven Morton said. "Her shooting in the first half was the reason that we led at half time."
The game was close for most of the remainder of the contest with Snake River keeping the Bear Lake squad at arms length with strong work on the glass. Overall Snake River out-rebounded Bear Lake 35-21, most of those on the defensive end where Bear Lake was able to get one shot and done.
Also of importance was the turnover battle that Snake River won by forcing 19 Bear Lake turnovers in the game while limiting their own miscues to just 9 on the night.
"Rebound wise that has been Eden, Jocelyn, Shayla and Alexa's M.O. all year has been to limit to one and done and the important thing with that is that Bear Lake is a transition team, they want to run and we were able to limit them in their fast break baskets," coach Morton said. "They are a team that you want to make run half court offense and I thought that we did that all night and that was the key."
Despite all of that, Bear Lake was still within striking distance late in the fourth quarter but 4 straight free throws by Whitney Dance pushed the lead out to 40-30 with just over 2 minutes remaining. On the night, Snake River shot 23 second half free throws, knocking down 15 of those to hold on for the victory.
"I thought that we should have gotten more free throws in the first half, there was an awful lot of contact around the hoop," coach Morton said. "I told the girls at half time that I was happy with the shots, we just needed to get them there and we did a much better job of finishing in the second half."
Snake River has one final hurdle to jump over when they square off with South Fremont on Saturday at Pocatello High School for the state play in game. Tip off is scheduled for 4 P.M.
BLHS 7 9 8 11 - 35
SRHS 10 12 6 17 - 45
Bear Lake - Hailey Wright 13, Kait Harris 2, Jessica Passey 9, Kayla Wallentine 3, Tiffany Wallentine 2, Trichell Schwab 5, Shantia Bateman 1; rebounds (21) Jessica Passey 7; assists (6) Tiffany Wallentine 3; FT - 8/15 3pt - 2/11 (Hailey Wright 2) fouls - 20 fouled out - Hailey Wright
Snake River - Alexa Lund 3, Shayla Christensen 15, Macy Martin 5, Whitney Dance 7, Eden Van Orden 9, Laura Thompson 2, Jocelyn Harper 4; rebounds (35) Eden Van Orden 11; assists (9) Alexa Lund 3; FT - 17/25 3pt - 4/11 (Shayla Christensen 3, Macy Martin 1) fouls - 16 fouled out - Whitney Dance