Defending 3A champ Snake River falls in state opener 46-39

MIDDLETON โ€” There will be no repeat as state champion for the Snake River girls basketball team. Instead, the 46-39 loss to Timberlake in Thursday's Class 3A state tournament opening round drops the Panthers into the consolation bracket.

Although the Panthers played the Timberlake Tigers within a point for three-and-a-half quarters, their mistakes caught up to them in the final few minutes to allow Timberlake to pull ahead.

"We put (Timberlake) at the line 29 times or something like that," Snake River head coach Rich Dunn said. "We were playing defense with our hands instead of our feet."

Timberlake had a one-point advantage in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers sunk 11 of 14 free throw attempts as part of a 11-3 run to pull ahead 46-37. For Snake River, shots didn't fall from the field or from the line. The Tigers finished 18 of 29 from the free throw line, while Snake River hit barely 50 percent (5 of 11). It was just one of many problems the Panthers endured.

"We turned the ball over, we got out-rebounded, and we didn't make free throws," Dunn added. "You can't play championship basketball if you give up those three things."

The Panthers also gave away the ball five more times than their north Idaho opponent (19-15, which resulted in the Tigers converting for 15 points off turnovers. Despite compiling similar rebounding numbers (Timberlake 32, Snake River 34), the stat sheet didn't reflect the quality of play, according to senior post Brylie Bair.

"We tried everything we had, but it wasn't good enough this time," said Bair. "It always hurts us."

Bair finished in double figures with 11 points and 10 boards, while freshman post Alyssa Crumley tallied 11 points and 8 boards.

The Panthers (13-10) were one of two district champions to fall early in the tournament, as District IV champion Filer defeated District VI champion Sugar-Salem earlier in the day. Snake River will face xxxxx today at 3 p.m. Dunn said his program isn't accustomed to finding itself on this side of the bracket but still aims for a state trophy.

"We've had great success," he added, "but we'll find out what are true colors are for the rest of the tournament."

Class 3A state girls basketball
Opening round
Timberlake 46, Snake River 39
Timberlake 10 10 13 13 โ€” 46
Snake River 7 12 10 10 โ€” 39
TIMBERLAKE: Anna Gardom 0-1 0-0 0, Payten Rhodes 0-1 7-10 7, Allison Kirby 3-7 5-9 14, Abbi Seubert 2-6 0-0 5, Julie Fitzmorris 0-2 0-0 0, Jessica Norlander 4-13 1-4 9, Keelie Lawler 2-14 5-6 11, Jacquelyn Mallett 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-45 18-29 46.
SNAKE RIVER: Makena Shelley 2-12 0-1 4, Ivy Goff 0-5 0-1 0, Scout Baldwin 3-11 1-2 7, Jetta Goff 1-3 2-2 4, Alyssa Crumley 5-10 1-2 11, Brylie Bair 5-8 1-3 11, Maegan Peace 0-2 0-0 0, Sierra Mortensen 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 17-53 5-11 39.
3-point goals: Timberlake 4-12 (Lawler 2-7, Kirby 1-2, Seubert 1-1, Fitzmorris 0-2), Snake River 0-8 (Shelley 0-5, J. Goff 0-2, I. Goff 0-1). Rebounds: Timberlake 32 (Norlander 10), Snake River 34 (Bair 10). Fouls: Timberlake 12, Snake River 21. Fouled out: Snake River, Crumley. Assists: Timberlake 4 (Kirby 2), Snake River 5 (Shelley 2). Turn overs: Timberlake 14, Snake River 19. Blocks: Timberlake 1 (Lawler), Snake River 2 (I. Goff, Bair). Steals: Timberlake 8 (Kirby 3), Snake River 8 (I. Goff 2).