Firth weathers late Grangeville rally to make 2A title game

BOISE โ€” The Firth boys basketball team are a game away from bringing home a state trophy to match the one the girls team won two weeks ago.

After fending off a last-ditch effort from Grangeville, the defending champion, The Cougars earned the right to play for the Class 2A championship. Firth won a 44-41 contest, only the third time the Cougars have allowed a team to put up more than 40 points this season.

"In the fourth quarter, we panicked," said Firth head coach Scott Adams. "That happens, and I knew that to stay in the game (Grangeville) would make a run. Turnovers and missed free throws gave them opportunities."

Firth took the lead from the opening minutes and had a double-digit gap up until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs started scrapping for any hope of a comeback by cutting the lead to a sole possession.

Grangeville connected on free throws with less than a minute to go to narrow Firth's lead to 43-41. A late foul against Jordan Chapman (7 points, 5 rebounds) sent the senior guard to the line, where he sank 1of 2. Desperation heaves from beyond the 3-point line twice failed to find the basket for the Bulldogs.

"They weren't doing anything different, but they wanted to win and got up in our faces," said junior guard Braydon Adams (6 points, 6 rebounds).

Firth took its sizable lead from a balanced attack on offense, as Zak Johnson and Connor Burkhart each netted 9 points, as did Dallan Bingham.

"We're usually pretty spread out, no one scorer that hits in the 20s or something like that," said Burkhart.

Firth last won a state trophy in 2011, when that season's squad won the consolation title. The Cougars have won four titles since 1999, including a three-year run from 2008-10. They face the Declo Hornets of District 4 today at 1:40 p.m. at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

"Declo likes to run the 1-2-2 zone and trap a lot," Adams added. "They've got great shooters. We'll have to play our best basketball to beat them."

Class 2A Idaho Boys High School Basketball Championship
Championship semifinal
Firth 44, Grangeville 41
Grangeville 10 3 10 18 โ€” 41
Firth 11 11 101 2 โ€” 44
Austin Parks 2-4 1-3 6, Jasper Sabatino 2-2 2-2 6, Josh Dame 4-16 3-4 11, Michael Wilson 3-6 0-0 7, Layton Harris 1-8 0-0 3, Alex Koberstein 1-1 0-0 2, Jake Stokes 1-5 4-7 6. Totals 14-42 10-16 41.
FIRTH (44)
Jordan Chapman 1-6 5-6 7, Braydon Adams 2-4 1-3 6, Lucus Orme 0-2 4-5 4, Zak Johnson 3-8 2-4 9, Dallan Bingham 4-8 1-2 9, Connor Burkhart 3-7 3-4 9. Totals 13-35 16-24 44.
3-point goals: Grangeville 3-18 (Parks 1-3, Wilson 1-3, Harris 1-6, Dame 0-2, Stokes 0-4), Firth 2-9 (Adams 1-3, Johnson 1-3, Orme 0-2, Bingham 0-1). Rebounds: Grangeville 22 (Wilson 5), Firth 32 (Adams 6, Burkhart 6). Fouls: Grangeville 21, Firth 12. Assists: Grangeville 4 (Wilson 2), Firth 8 (Orme 4). Turnovers: Grangeville 4, Firth 10. Blocks: Grangeville 2, Firth 4 (Burkhart 2). Steals: Grangeville 5 (Parks 2), Firth 1.