THOMAS — The Snake River Panthers buried 9 three point baskets en route to a commanding 63-48 senior night victory over long time nemesis Marsh Valley on Friday evening.
Snake River opened the night by celebrating the contributions of six seniors as Adrian Castaneda, Jacoby Johnson, Cole Rushton, Nate Martin, Mason Watt and Wyatt Wray took to the home hardwood for the final time.
After the ceremony, Snake River and Marsh Valley got down to what they do best, battle it out on the court as the two teams shared or traded the lead on five different occasions leading to a 14-14 tie after one quarter of play.
"I thought that we didn't execute particularly well in the first quarter but after we settled down I thought that we did a better job," Snake River head coach Robert Coombs said. "We were able to start moving the ball and with them packing down in their zone we were able to get some good looks and we need to be able to hit those shots."
And hit those shots they did as they broke open a 16-16 ball game with a 13-0 run in the middle of the second quarter. Key to the run was a trio of three point baskets from Cole Rushton, Kade Harral and Brad Coombs.
Snake River put the finishing touches on a 21-8 quarter when Brad Coombs hit four straight free throws with :31 remaining the half as the Marsh Valley bench was assessed a technical foul.
"They were sitting back in that zone and then we were able to hit a couple of shots which loosened them up a bit," Coach Coombs said.
Marsh Valley made a 6-1 run to open second half play but the Panthers were having none of that comeback mojo on senior night as they responded with a 12-0 run over the middle portion of the third quarter to push the lead out to twenty with 1:38 remaining.
Nate Martin kept the momentum going in the fourth quarter as the senior tallied the Panthers first seven points of the final stanza to all but seal the win.
"I feel like we are starting to peak right now and that is alway our goal, to be peaking at districts," Coach Coombs said. "Nate had a great game tonight. What a great way to end his senior career."
Martin finished with 10 points on the evening. Brad Coombs led the Panthers with 16 points in the win and Wyatt Wray also cracked double digits in the scoring column with 10 points in the victory with most of those coming via the free throw line.
Next up for Snake River (13-5, 5-0) is a road date at American Falls. Snake River has already locked up the top seed in the upcoming district tournament but a perfect regular season will be on the line when they tip off at 7:30 next Friday night.
"Our number one goal to start the year is to get the top seed for the district tournament," Coach Coombs said. "Now it's time to go out and win a district championship and then onto state."
SNAKE RIVER 63, MARSH VALLEY 48
Marsh Valley 14 8 10 16 - 48
Snake River 14 21 13 15 - 63
Marsh Valley (48) - Tyson Iverson 2, Tristan Nichols 12, Gage Barker 22, Joseph Andrus 4, Andy Criddle 4, Jake Barker 4. FG: 19. FT: 6-8. 3-pointers: 4-12 (Triston Nichols 2, Gage Barker 2). Fouls: 21. Fouled out: (Tyson Iverson, Josh Smedley).
Snake River (63) - Jacoby Johnson 8, Kade Harral 6, Cole Rushton 5, Nate Martin 10, Brad Coombs 16, Mason Watt 5, Curtis Keller 3, Wyatt Wray 10. FG: 19. FT: 16-25. 3-pointers: 9-13 (Kade Harral 2, Cole Rushton 1, Nate Martin 2, Brad Coombs 3, Mason Watt 1). Fouls: 11. Fouled out: none.