Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Salmon River’s Chevelle Shepherd set a tournament record with 19 free throws during the Savages’ win over Genesis Prep last Friday, Feb. 18.
As of Tuesday, February 21, 2017
NAMPA A third come-from-behind win was not in the cards last Saturday, Feb. 18, as Butte County’s roster had simply too much depth for Paula Tucker to out-coach.
Tucker had pulled all the right strings earlier in the tournament, but when Salmon River’s press defense came to life during the second quarter, Butte County countered it effectively and won the title game 73-44.
Salmon River had trailed 9-0 but got back into the game with a traditional three-point play by Maddy Tucker early in the second quarter.
The hoop allowed SRHS to set up a trap and when a Butte County player traveled trying to get around Sarah Laritz, the moment brought to life hopes of a comeback like the SRHS girls created the first two games of the tournament.
But shortly after Laritz let out her roar, Butte County recovered, and pushed the lead to 30-14 before halftime.
Earlier in the tournament, Salmon River had successfully reorganized its defense on the fly, such as by leaving one of Genesis Prep’s wings completely unguarded to curtail the mismatch a couple of six-foot forwards presented in the lane.
But Butte County’s players — mostly of similar sizes and skill-sets — could not be left wide open.
As a squad, the Pirates shot 51 percent from the field and held Salmon River to 16-for-50 during the title game.
Against Genesis Prep, Salmon River reversed an 11-point deficit. Late in the first half, Laritz deflected an inbounds pass off the side of the backboard above the SRHS hoop, which Payton Branstetter gathered and scored to trim the Genesis lead to 34-32 at halftime.
Late in the first quarter, Chevelle Shepherd had put up a last-second lob that would have counted for a buzzer-beating three had it flown an inch farther. Shepherd scored the first eight points of the third quarter, and set a tournament record by making 19 free throws.
A day earlier, SRHS overcame a 13-point deficit to Castleford behind Tucker (26 points) and Shepherd (19).
SRHS finished 17-6 overall.