Kellogg boys basketball
Monday, Feb. 19
Kellogg 67, Priest River 14: Not every David and Goliath story ends with the little guy overcoming the odds, in fact it happens to be quite the opposite.
And last Monday night’s game between Kellogg and Priest River was no different.
The Spartans were heavy underdogs, the Wildcats were bigger, stronger, and faster, and as hard as the Spartans played, the Wildcats were a ruthless and relentless wave that was simply irresistible as they ran away with a 67-14 win to advance to Wednesday’s district championship.
In their first two meetings the Wildcats won by a combined 59 points, and if not for the 30-point running clock rule, they likely would have eclipsed that on Monday night, but the story of the game isn’t just that the Wildcats won big, it was how they did it that was so impressive.
The game opened fairly slow, as the Wildcats saw a few forced passes turn into sloppy turnovers, but then things tightened up after reserve guard Hogan Samuelson came into the game and scored a quick six points to push the Cats to a 14-0 first quarter lead.
The second quarter wasn’t much more competitive, despite the Spartans finally finding the scoring column, but the Wildcats used a barrage of defensive plays and fast breaks to put this game to bed before the halftime horn even sounded.
Nasty, gritty, take no prisoners-style defense.
The game was perfectly summed up in one sequence of events.
Late in the second quarter, a Priest River guard found a rare opening in the Kellogg defense and was able to score the Spartans first 2-points of the game.
Immediately following that, Wildcat Tanner Mueller took an outlet pass, sprinted down court, and with a Spartan defender desperately trying to stop him, Mueller flushed a one-handed dunk on his thoroughly overmatched opponent.
In a matter of seconds the smallest glimmer of hope had been snuffed out and the Wildcats took a 42-3 halftime lead.
The second half played out very similarly, but with the Wildcats easing off the defensive side of things only slightly, and allowing their entire bench to get some quality minutes.
“I think we played pretty good on the defensive side of the ball,” Kellogg coach Jeff Nearing said. “I don’t use this word much, but right now our guys are playing with some real swagger. We have a lot of kids playing really good ball for us right now and I can’t imagine that being a problem that too many coaches would complain about.”
Every Wildcat found the their way into the box score, but it was Chase Jerome who came out of the fray as the leading scorer, notching 12 points in the win.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Kellogg 69, Timberlake 51: The Kellogg Wildcats punched their ticket to the state tournament after they knocked off Timberlake in the District I championship game.
Senior Chase Jerome had himself a night, scoring 21 points and putting the final stamp on a season that resulted in him being named league most valuable player following the win.
Kellogg once again relied on nasty defense game that forced a lot of Tiger turnovers, which is where the Cats were able do the bulk of their damage.
With three minutes remaining in the second quarter, and clinging to a 23-20 lead, Kellogg once again demonstrated their ability to score a lot of points in short amount of time and they closed the half on a 15-3 run.
The second half saw the Wildcats essentially playing to maintain their lead, which meant not allowing the Tigers to get any closer than 12 before the final buzzer sounded.
“This was a total team effort tonight,” coach Jeff Nearing said. “We aren’t perfect, but when we play like we played tonight, we are going to be tough to beat.”
Ryan Morgan pitched in 12 points for the Wildcats.
Mullan boys basketball
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Lakeside 85, Mullan 40: A 54-19 halftime lead was enough to get the second-seeded Knights past the third-seeded Tigers in the 1A Division II District 1 tournament at Lakeland High.
Gryphon Todd scored 18 points for Mullan, which finishes their season with a 5-10 record.
Wallace boys basketball
Saturday, Feb. 24
Prairie 65, Wallace 48: The Pirates (20-4) beat the Miners in a state 1A Division I play-in game at The Arena. Prairie advances to the 1A DI state tournament beginning Thursday at Vallivue High in Caldwell.
“It’s disappointing that we didn't play better,” Wallace coach Corey Miller said. “I thought the effort was there we just didn't play that well and struggled to get the ball in the hoop the first half. Prairie is a good team and I would expect they will bring home some type of banner from state. I had a great group of kids this year that my family thinks the world of.”
Wallace was led in scoring by Zack Welch who finished with 15 points while Erik Brackebusch chipped in 13. Wallace finishes 12-8.
POCATELLO — Members of the Kellogg and Wallace wrestling teams competed at the 3A and 2A state tournaments at Holt Arena in Pocatello.
Although the gold eluded both teams, Silver Valley wrestlers earned five medals at the tournament.
For Kellogg, 126 pounder Judson Hall led the team with a 3rd place finish, winning two hard fought matches on Saturday afternoon after a tough semifinal loss that morning.
Taylor Bush and Jesse Campbell both earned 5th place medals and Dakota Eixenberger finished 6th.
Campbell completed his Wildcat career with 36 wins, giving him 137 career victories and his second state medal in his 4 year career.
Wildcat coach Scott Miller was pleased with how his wrestlers performed and sees the experience as a positive for his team moving forward.
Miller also took time to recognize his state placers.
“I was really pleased with how our kids competed in each and every match. They put themselves in position to be successful which is all you can ask,” Miller said. “I’m really happy for our placers. I though Judson Hall was dominating all weekend. I was really impressed with how he came back following the semifinal setback and just controlled his opponents. He had a very impressive performance.
“Seeing Jesse back on the podium was a highlight. He wrestled a great tournament, just great grinding, wrestling his match and keeping focus on his goal. I was very happy to see our senior go out like that. Dakota has set himself up well for the future. It is always impressive when you see a freshman on the podium. He wrestled well all weekend. I thought Taylor showed perseverance. He had a tough weekend but kept plugging, and won matches he had to have and earned his place.”
TEAM SCORES — 1, Sugar-Salem 237. 2, Fruitland 178.5. 3, Shelley 161.5. 4, Snake River 155. 5, Teton 130.5. 6, Kimberly 128. 7, South Fremont 117. 8, Weiser 106. 9, Timberlake 89. 10, Bonners Ferry 75.5. 11, Gooding 74. 12, Buhl 71. 13, Marsh Valley 70.5. 14, Parma 69. 15, American Falls 65. 16, Priest River 57.5. 17, Kellogg 55. 18, Payette 51. 19, Homedale 28. 20, Filer 19.5.
TEAM SCORES — 1, Ririe 134. 2, Challis 115. 3, Declo 105. 4, West Jefferson 102. 5, New Plymouth 101. 6, (tie), Clearwater Valley, St. Maries, 94. 8, Melba 93. 9, North Gem 90. 10, North Fremont 88. 11, Bear Lake 79.5. 12 (tie), Marsing, Salmon 78. 14, Grace 66.5. 15, Potlatch 66. 16, Malad 65. 17, Grangeville 64. 18, Soda Springs 61.5. 19, Orofino 61. 20, Wendell 53. 21, McCall-Donnelly 42. 22, Aberdeen 40. 23, Raft River 36. 24, Firth 28. 25, Kamiah 24. 26 (tie), Oakley, West Side 22. 28, Wallace 16. 29 (tie), Prairie, Tri-Valley 14. 31, Dietrich 11. 32, Glenns Ferry 6. 33, Timberline 5. 34, Shoshone 3.