Defending champion Panthers fall to hot shooting Filer 55-43

MERIDIAN — For the first time in three years, the Class 3A championship game won't feature Snake River.
The defending champion Panthers fell behind a wily Filer team early in their opening-round game Thursday at Meridian High School, losing 55-43. The Wildcats out-rebounded and out-shot the District 5 champion and forced Snake River into the consolation side of the state boys basketball tournament.
Filer began a 10-point tear late in the first quarter and into the second to pull ahead of Snake River, which didn't come closer than eight points throughout the second half.
"They just out-hustled us from the beginning of the game," said Snake River senior post Kade Keller (7 points, 7 rebounds). "We needed to be the aggressor, and that wasn't us tonight."
The Wildcats grabbed 31 boards to the Panthers' 20, which Snake River head coach Robert Coombs said should have happened with Snake River's superior size. But physical play under the basket trumped height.
"I thought we defended well in a few situations, but they were knocking them down," Coombs said. "They came to play. We got out-hustled and out-played, and they deserved to win."
The Panthers also failed to find an answer to Filer's shooters. The Wildcats started four guards, three of which hit multiple baskets from beyond the 3-point line. Snake River hit just as many 3-pointers as Filer, but the Wildcats excelled on overall shooting from the field, hitting 50 percent to the Panthers' 37.2 percent.
"We knew that they start four guards who like to shoot. They knocked down a lot of shots, and we couldn't do anything about it," said Snake River's other senior post, Curtis Keller (6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks).
Snake River will face Shelley in consolation play this afternoon at 3 p.m. A victory will put them in contention for a state trophy, facing the winner of the early game between Sugar-Salem and Parma.
"We came in expecting a lot," Kade Keller said. "To get over a loss like this — I think our seniors are taking it hard — we just have to gather ourselves and be aggressive (today) and play like we can."

Class 3A Idaho Boys Basketball Championship
Filer 55, Snake River 43
Filer 23 9 6 17 — 55
Snake River 16 9 8 13 — 43
FILER (55)
Logan Beard 7-12 10-14 21, Conner Tews 2-5 2-2 8, Austin Beard 4-5 2-2 12, Kaleb Whitlock 3-9 0-0 6, Cooper Moon 0-1 0-0 0, Peyton Richardson 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Oyler 3-5 2-3 8. Totals: 19-38 10-14 55.
Klay Keller 0-2 0-0 0, Tyler Coombs 1-1 0-0 2, Kade Keller 2-8 3-3 7, Kade Harral 3-9 0-0 8, Jaden Poulter 0-1 0-0 0, Trey Albertson 2-5 0-0 6, Brad Coombs 5-10 1-1 14, Curtis Keller 3-7 0-2 6. Totals: 16-43 4-6 43.
3-point goals: Filer 7-19 (L. Beard 3-7, Tews 2-5, A. Beard 2-3, Whitlock 0-3, Richardson 0-1), Snake River 7-21 (B. Coombs 3-4, Harral 2-8, Albertson 2-5, Klay Keller 0-1, Kade Keller 0-2, Poulter 0-1). Rebounds: Filer 31 (L. Beard 7), Snake River 20 (Kade Keller 7, C. Keller 7). Fouls: Filer 12, Snake River 14. Fouled out: Snake River, Kade Keller. Technical fouls: Snake River, Kade Keller. Assists: Filer 9 (L. Beard 4), Snake River 11 (Kade Keller 4). Turnovers: Filer 16, Snake River 10. Blocks: Filer 3 (Whitlock 3), Snake River 2 (C. Keller 2). Steals: Filer 7 (Oyler 2), Snake River 7 (Albertson 2, B. Coombs 2).