SHELLEY – In a game that featured all the momentum swings you would expect between the Snake River and Shelley boys basketball teams a couple of questionable calls in the final 7.6 seconds of the game proved to be the difference.
A foul called on an attempted steal by the Panthers Kade Keller sent the Russets Blaine Rumsey to the free throw line for what turned out to be the game-winning points as the Russets handed the Panthers their second loss of the season 48-46 Saturday night.
“The biggest part about those free throws were that I had just jumped his butt so bad for the shot he took on one pass the possession before,” Shelley head coach Dave Hadley said of Rumsey’s free throws. “A lot of kids would have crumbled after getting chewed out, but instead I intentionally did not take a time out to get the ball in Blaine’s hands to get things going and he did a great job making the guy come out and defend him.”
But with the two point lead, Shelley still had to stop the Panthers from tying the game. After a quick foul and a Panthers timeout, there was still 5.6 seconds left on the clock for the Panthers to tie the game.
The ball found the hands of Brad Coombs who drove towards the basket with time running out. Coombs appeared to be grabbed from behind as his shot rimmed out and timed expired.
Coombs stood at the foul line with his hands on his head in disbelief in what had just occurred.
“I thought in the fourth quarter we had chances to get the ball down inside to Curtis Keller,” Snake River head coach Bob Coombs said. “He was open, there were even a few times that he was wide open and we did not get him the ball. That’s execution and hopefully we learn from it.”
While the final seven seconds will be what many in attendance Saturday night remember; to the coaches this was just another battle between two Bingham County rivals.
“We are so familiar with each another and know what each other does so well that each of these games are battles,” Hadley said. “Tonight was another one of those. While the end of game stuff will be remembered we did a lot of good things against a very good team.”
The key for the Russets in the game was the play of the bench.
When Tyler Fredrickson and Keifer Higham got in foul trouble in the first quarter Hadley had to go to his bench and get some valuable minutes and hopefully points from that group.
Junior forward Jace Russell was one of those players that stepped up.
The 6-foot-7 post pulled down a handful of big rebounds and scored the basket as time expired in the first half to give the Russets a 24-23 lead at halftime.
“Jace Russell averages like three and a half minutes a game,” Hadley said. “Tonight he was big for us and got some big rebounds and a big basket to give us the lead at the half. He came in and did exactly what we wanted him to do.”
But the Panthers did have plenty of chances to take control of the game in the opening 16 minutes, but the shots did not fall.
“I thought in the first half we had plenty of good looks at the basket, but the shoots did not go down,” Coombs said. “These are the types of games we want to be in, we just need to improve on things we did not do well going forward.”
Snake River trailed by four after three quarters, and took their final lead of the game 40-38 after a Coombs three-pointer with less than six minutes to go.
“I think we stuck in our zone a little longer than we should have on Brad’s last three there late,” Hadley said. “But overall we did a pretty good job of keeping a good shooting team in check.”
“We did not shoot the ball well tonight,” Coombs said. “We are a better shooting team than what we showed tonight and we need to show that going forward.”
Coombs led all scorers with a game-high 13 points. Rumsey led Shelley with 12, Carter Cannon added 10.
Snake River (10-2) plays at American Falls on Thursday, while Shelley (6-5) hosts Idaho Falls on Wednesday.
Shelley 48, Snake River 46
Snake River 11 12 9 14 — 46
Shelley 8 16 12 12 — 48
Snake River — Brad Coombs 5 0-0 13, Kade Keller 2 2-2 6, Klay Keller 3 2-2 8, Tyler Coombs 1 5-6 7, Trey Albertson 1 0-0 2, Kade Harral 1 0-0 3, Curtis Keller 3 0-0 6. Shelley — Bracken Nelson 4 0-1 8, Keifer Higham 2 2-2 7, Carter Cannon 4 2-2 10, Blaine Rumsey 2 6-8 12, Dalton Nelson 2 1-2 5, Jace Russell 1 0-0 2, Tyler Fredrickson 2 0-1 4.