ABERDEEN — It was a 2A Bingham County cat fight on Tuesday evening as the Firth Cougars traveled to Aberdeen for a tussle with the Tigers on the hardwood.
Aberdeen led by as many as 17 points in the contest but Firth showed their collective metal as they overcame the deficit for a 52-50 road win.
"Obviously we didn't start out as well as we would have liked," Firth head coach Scott Adams said. "We were prepared we just didn't come out ready but hand it to Aberdeen, they came out and shot lights out and played well. I'm just proud of my kids and the way that they were able to overcome tonight."
Indeed, the home standing Tigers got off to a roaring start with Austin Horrocks and Brian Cerna each dialing long distance on multiple occasions leading to a 22-12 first quarter lead. Aberdeen kept the peddle to the metal to begin the second quarter as well as they pushed that lead out to as many as 17 with a 9-2 run for a 31-14 advantage.
After a Firth time out, the Cougars settled in and began chopping wood however. Luis Avila got the comeback started as he picked up a steal and a lay up to snap the Tiger run. Avila then scored on back-to-back offensive possessions and a Mitch Orme slashing lay up through the lane closed the half with Firth on an 8-0 run but the Tigers still led 31-22.
Early in the third quarter Firth suffered a big set back when their leader, Mitch Orme picked up both his third and fourth fouls, forcing the senior to the bench with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Aberdeen tried to take advantage as Cerna connected on a pair of three point baskets to push the lead back out to double digits but a Zak Johnson basket at the buzzer made the score 42-34 Aberdeen as the two teams headed to the fourth quarter of play.
That seemingly innocent shot sparked the Cougars and the spark slowly grew into a flame as Firth opened the fourth quarter on an 10-1 run to take their first lead of the game at 44-43, when Jordan Chapman drilled a shot from the baseline with 4:30 remaining in the half.
"We did our biggest damage tonight with Mitch on the bench," Coach Adams said. "No one can be looking over their shoulder and waiting for someone else to lead. Everyone knows what is expected and what they need to do and in the second and fourth quarters we saw what we were capable of doing."
Cerna, who led all scorers on the evening with 19 points, gave Aberdeen the lead back at 45-44 on the ensuing Tiger possession.
Firth took the lead for good however when Orme powered home a shot in the lane with 1:12 remaining and despite a Jaxson Archibald three ball with :00.6 remaining, the Tigers were unable to stop the Cougar win.
"We've had more than our fair share of moral victories," Aberdeen head coach Cory Hollingsworth said. "Some of our problem tonight was fouls but we still need our bench, whoever is in the game, to show some poise and execute down the stretch. Tonight we didn't do that in a game that we should have won."
In addition to Cerna's 19 the Tigers also got 14 points from Austin Horrocks and the Tigers (3-7, 0-1) will look to shake off Tuesday's loss when they host Soda Springs on Thursday for a key conference match up.
Firth (6-6, 1-0) had a trio of Cougars in double digits with Jordan Chapman and Mitch Orme with 14 points while Luis Avila added 10 in the victory. The Cougars will be back in action tonight when they tangle with Salmon for a key Nuclear Conference contest. Both games will tip at 7 p.m.
FIRTH 52, ABERDEEN 50
Firth 12 10 12 18 - 52
Aberdeen 22 9 11 8 - 50
Firth (52) - Jordan Chapman 14, Luis Avila 10, Braydon Adams 4, Zak Johnson 2, Quinn Alvey 2, Dallan Bingham 6, Mitch Orme 14. FG: 21. FT: 10-11. 3-pointers 0-9. fouls: 14. Fouled out: none.
Aberdeen (50) - Brian Cerna 19, Austin Horrocks 14, Zane Bono 4, Matthew Wright 4, Jaxson Archibald 9. FG: 19. FT: 4-10. 3-pointers: 8-17 (Brian Cerna 4, Austin Horrocks 3, Jaxson Archibald 1). fouls: 14. fouled out: none.