AMMON — A big third quarter by the home standing Hillcrest Knights proved to be troublesome for the Blackfoot Broncos as they fell in their season opener 75-59 in the Dungeon on Wednesday evening.
"I thought that overall team effort, first ball game was good," Blackfoot head coach Dan Hale said. "If you remember last year at this time we had a hard time scoring in the forty's so to come out and score nearly sixty on a veteran team like we played tonight is encouraging. Like I told the kids, if we come out and score in the sixties we are going to win a lot of ballgames. Of course we saw a lot of things that we need to work on but we saw tonight that we have a lot of pieces to the puzzle and now we just need to put the puzzle together."
Blackfoot opened the contest with a quick 5-0 run as Tanner Norton got the seasons first basket with a drive on the baseline and then Colby Pearson spotted up for a three ball on the next offensive possession.
Hillcrest responded with a run of their own however and at the end of the first quarter the Knights held a 17-9 advantage.
Blackfoot battled back in the second stanza though as McKye Watt came off the bench firing darts from behind the arc as he connected on three long balls, including a running three pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the first half. Watt was fouled on the play, converted the free throw for the four point play and as the two squads headed to the locker room, Blackfoot were feeling good with a 34-33 lead.
"We have the wing people and the point guards to be able to play uptempo and that is how you need to play a team like Hillcrest," Coach Hale said. "McKye, his first ball game as a varsity player and he came out, got up and down the floor well and positioned himself to get shots which was a key for him."
Out of the break Hillcrest showed why they are considered a threat to win a 5A state title however as the veteran group blew the doors off the gym with a 29-12 third quarter to take a commanding 62-46 lead.
"I thought that their experience really showed there in the second half," Coach Hale said. "They made a few little changes at the half, got a couple of easy lay ups and once they got the lead they just spread us out, hit some threes and once they get going they're hard to shut off. Any team that is able to blow out a lead it makes it a lot easier for them to play because they can relax."
Blackfoot played the home standing Knights even in the fourth quarter but in the end, the men in black were unable to overcome the third quarter deficit as they fell on opening night.
Blackfoot (0-1) will open their home schedule on Friday night when they host another 5A school, this time the always dangerous Madison Bobcats will be in the gym as the Broncos look to defend their home court with tip off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
HILLCREST 75, BLACKFOOT 59
Blackfoot 9 25 12 13 - 59
Hillcrest 17 16 29 13 - 75
Blackfoot (59) - Tanner Norton 2, Marshall Sandow 3, Colby Pearson 8, Paul Cannon 11, Tyler Cannon 4, McKye Watt 16, Austin Campbell 8, Harrison Hoskins 2, Aaron Vail 5. FG: 22. 3-pointers: (Sandow, Pearson, Watt 3). FT: 10-22. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none.
Hillcrest (75) - Jaden Hunsaker 9, Tyson McDonald 17, Blake Phippen 12, Tyler Patterson 5, Tanner Austin 18, Scott Baldwin 14. FG: 29. 3-pointers: (Hunsaker 3, McDonald, Phippen 3, Baldwin 2). FT: 8-18. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: none.