BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot celebrated senior night on Friday evening and the Bonneville Bee's proved to be inhospitable house guests as they swarmed all over the Broncos for a 66-56 High Country Conference victory.
On a night in which Blackfoot paid a fond farewell to Trae Pilster, Jaron Katseanes, Gabby Maldonado and Keith Moore it was a trio of Bonneville sophomores who wound up stealing the show as Jared Stutzman, Tanner Smith and Chance Reese combined for 50 points to spoil Blackfoot's evening.
"You just can't let a team like Bonneville get going offensively because once they start to get it going, it's awfully tough to get them stopped again," Blackfoot head coach Dan Hale said. "For whatever reason. Whether it was senior night or just an off night. We just didn't come out with the same energy and intensity that we've played with for the past month."
Playing before a large home crowd, the game started innocently enough with the two teams trading jabs like a heavy weight fight with the Bee's eventually taking an 18-14 lead into the second quarter of play.
Bonneville got hot from there, as the Broncos turned in an uncharacteristic lackluster defensive effort leading to a 21-12 second quarter and a 13 point half-time deficit.
"Honestly, the biggest problem for us tonight was the lack of defensive intensity, especially in the first half," Coach Hale said. "Maybe we were just trying a little too hard. I don't know but you have to hand it to Bonneville, they played pretty good basketball."
Despite the deficit, Blackfoot fans knew that the Broncos were more than capable of overcoming that as they have proven that fact by winning four of their last five ball games, including some dramatic come from behind wins.
The home irons were unkind however as the Broncos went a combined 0-17 from the field in the third quarter of play and despite holding the Bees to just 10 points of their own, Blackfoot trailed 49-29 entering the final quarter of the night.
"It was tough psychologically," Coach Hale said. "With each miss, it was longer and longer in between baskets and it started wearing on us which made us play even tighter on the offensive end. It's just one of those things that happens sometimes. The kids feel terrible right now but they'll feel a little better tomorrow and by Monday, we will be back at work because like I told them after the game, everyone is 0-0 entering the tournament next week."
Blackfoot didn't go quietly into that cold night however as they mounted a valiant comeback effort in the fourth quarter. Keith Moore, Trae Pilster and Paul Cannon each dialed long distance in the frame, eventually cutting the Bonneville lead down to single digits at 55-46 with 2:27 remaining.
That was as close as Blackfoot could get however as the Bee's hit their free throws down the stretch, leading to the season ending loss.
Blackfoot (8-12, 2-8) will open the district tournament on Tuesday night when they travel to Hillcrest for a 7:30 ball game with the Knights.
BONNEVILLE 66, BLACKFOOT 56
BONNEVILLE 18 21 10 17 - 66
BLACKFOOT 14 12 3 27 - 56
Bonneville (66) - Sean Harker 2, Jake Holcomb 2, Jared Stutzman 25, Riley Rowberry 7, Kohl Hostert 3, Tanner Smith 11, Lincoln Clyton 2, Chance Reese 14. FG: 22. FT: 18-25. 3-pointers 4 (Smith 2, Rowberry, Hostert) Fouls: 22. Fouled out: (none).
Blackfoot (56) - Tanner Norton 2, Trae Pilster 22, Colby Pearson 1, Paul Cannon 11, Jaron Katseanes 3, Keith Moore 9, Austin Campbell 7, Jacob Denning 1. FG: 19. FT: 15-22. 3-pointers 3 (Pilster, Cannon, Moore). Fouls: 21. Fouled out: (none).