State Tournament Brackets Are Set
Their were two marquee play-in games on Saturday that provided plenty of drama as Eagle took on Skyline and Bishop Kelly battled it out with Jerome. For Eagle, it was a surprise player that stole the show. Senior Tom Merkle had the game of his life as he scored 18 points to lead Eagle to a 48-37 victory over Skyline. The Mustangs used their size to their advantage as Braiden Shaw scored 17 points and 16 rebounds and Coach Tom Seifert instructed his guards to keep feeding it to their big men, and Merkle and Shaw delivered in a big way. The Eagle win sets up a showdown between Mountain View and Eagle in the 4th game of the day on Thursday at the Idaho Center.
The other team from District III that was trying to play their way into the State Tournament was Bishop Kelly, but unfortunately for the Knights, they ran into a hot shooting Jerome team. Jerome made 7 of their 10 three point attempts in the 1st half to jump out to an 11 point lead at intermission. The Knights came all the way back to tie the game, but in the end it wasn't enough and Jerome moved on by winning 60-52.
Now that the State Tournament fields are set, we can focus in on some big time showdowns, especially in the 1st round. The game everyone has been talking about for months and the reason people are screaming for the State Tournament to be reseeded, is the matchup between #1 Borah and #3 Coeur D'Alene at 1:15 on Thursday. These two have been among the favorites all year long and should kick off the State Tournament in great fashion.
A matchup in the 4A that I am looking forward to is Rigby against Jerome. Both of these teams have compiled 20 wins over the course of their season and the winner of this game might have the best chance to knock off Twin Falls in the championship. Skyview opens with District VI runner up, Madison and Kuna opens up with Moscow.
Until someone beats them, you would have to think that in the 3A State Tournament that Fruitland is the favorite. The Grizzlies record is less than impressive at 14-8, but they always find a way in late February to make a push. They will open with Bear Lake. The other team that made it from District III, Weiser, will play Kellogg in a battle of two teams with 18 wins each.
Three teams from the Treasure Valley will have a chance to win the 2A and despite losing the District Championship, no team wants to run into 20-2 Cole Valley Christian. They will open with 19-2 Valley in the marquee game of the day. New Plymouth plays Butte County and North Star Charter will play Kamiah.
Notus, Liberty Charter and Horseshoe Bend will try and contend for a 1A Division One State Championship that features a few teams with great records. Genesee is unbeaten at 23-0 and Liberty Charter (22-2) will be the 1st team to try and knock them off their winning streak. Horseshoe Bend will open with Glenns Ferry and Notus will play Lapwai. Only one team in the 1A Division II State Tournament is from the Treasure Valley and Salmon River will be the team that tries to defy the odds and bring back home the trophy. They will play Castleford on Thursday in their 1st round game.