Tigers end regular season with win at home, road loss
The Mountain Home Tigers headed into this week's District III 4A Boys Basketball Tournament with confidence after closing out their regular season schedule with a win over Columbia and a near-win at Skyview.
Tigers 59, Wildcats 50
The Mountain Home Tigers came ready to play Friday night for Senior Night, beating the Columbia Wildcats 59-50 in Lloyd Schiller Gymnasium in Mountain Home.
The first quarter went back and forth, with Tyler Wright's basket with four seconds left giving the Tigers a 12-11 lead after a quarter.
Mountain Home would not relinquish the lead from then on, as the Tigers built up the lead in the second quarter and took a 29-20 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Columbia got a trey and a two from Mitch Loar to close out the third quarter and come within five, 39-34, heading into the fourth.
The Tigers held on to the lead, and Columbia made one last surge to get within four, 51-47, with 1:10 left, but Mountain Home cashed in on six of eight free throws the rest of the way to hold off the Wildcats 59-50.
"The kids played well, and got a good start, and held on to it and kind of made some plays at the end," said Tiger basketball coach Tony Kerfoot after the game. "Offensively, we did well -- 59 points. We haven't scored that for a while. I thought we did a good job defensively, too. I don't think they got too much in transition and we didn't turn it over to them a lot."
Cody Ramos led the Tigers with a double-double, scoring a season-high 20 points and bringing down 10 rebounds. Tyler Wright and Deion Brown both scored eight points, David Bitrick added seven, J.T. Cristobal, Brock Zamora and Aaron Hobbs each scored four, Anthony Castillo netted three and Drew Hopkins scored one.
Hawks 57, Tigers 55
The Tigers rode the momentum of their Columbia win to Skyview Saturday night where they came close to handing the Hawks their second straight loss before falling 57-55.
The Hawks had been upset by Bishop Kelly 60-48 Friday night, and for over 29 minutes Saturday night it looked like they might end the regular season with two straight losses, as Mountain Home came ready to play.
Hitting three treys in the first quarter, the Tigers shot out to a 12-2 lead early and led 15-8 after a quarter. The Tigers continued their hot shooting in the second quarter, hitting three more treys, and took a 33-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Skyview managed to shave the Tiger lead to four midway through the third quarter, and again with 16 seconds left in the quarter, but a basket by J.T. Cristobal in the closing seconds made it 41-35, Tigers, heading into the fourth.
A 7-0 run by Skyview midway through the fourth gave the Hawks the lead, 51-47, with 3:02 left. Brock Morris scored to cut it to 51-49 with 2:29 left, but a basket by Kyle Dranginis and two free throws by Luke Austin gave Skyview its biggest lead of the night, 55-49, with 1:24 left.
Kyle Dranginis then missed two free throws with 1:02 left that would have pushed the lead up to eight, and the Tigers responded. David Bitrick drained a trey to cut the margin to 55-52 with 57.5 left.
After two missed free throws by Terrell Rowe with 41.6 seconds left, David Bitrick hit another trey -- his fourth of the night -- to tie the game at 55-55. Luke Austin scored with 8.5 seconds left to put the Hawks ahead 57-55. The Tigers then set up a three-point attempt for the win, but turned the ball over before they could get the shot off.
"That was a great battle," said Coach Kerfoot after the game.
"The kids played excellent. We made some errors down the stretch, but when you come into the defending state champ's house on Senior Night -- they turn out the lights and put the spotlight on and all that stuff, its the first time we've seen anything like that -- the kids came out and rose to the occasion. That's kind of what I told them before the game, that's what this is about. We want to start playing the way we're going to have to in the district tournament, and if we're fortunate enough to go beyond, and I thought we had that tempo going."
Cody Ramos and David Bitrick led the Tiger scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Brock Morris and Tyler Wright each netted nine points, J.T. Cristobal had a new season high with seven points, and Anthony Castillo, who led the team with five assists, added one point.
The Tigers shot well from the floor, hitting 44 percent (19/43) of their shots, including 44 percent (8/18) of their threes. They shot 56 percent (9/16) from the free-throw line.
Skyview shot 43 percent (21/49) of their shots, including six of 18 treys (33 percent), but were just 43 percent (9/21) from the foul line.
The Tigers finished their regular season schedule 4-10 in conference, and 5-13 overall. They took the number six seed into the district tourney Tuesday night at Middleton against the third-seeded Middleton Vikings.
After their efforts in the final weekend of the regular season, Coach Kerfoot was optimistic going into the postseason.
"I'm definitely proud of the kids and how they played, and hopefully we can continue to get better in the post season."