Mountain Home to host first round of this year's district tournament
The Mountain Home Tigers kept their home boys basketball record unblemished, but they lost at Kuna in their regular season final.
Mountain Home 37, Middleton 34
Christen Riedel hit a three-point shot from the corner with four seconds left to lift the Mountain Home Tigers past the Middleton Vikings, 37-34, in conference boys basketball last Wednesday at in Mountain Home High School's Lloyd Schiller Gymnasium.
It was a physical defensive battle with nine lead changes and two ties. Marcus Egusquiza drained a trey near the end of the first quarter to push the Tigers ahead, 12-11, after one.
Mountain Home built its lead to five with just over two minutes left in the half, but the Vikings came back to tie the game at 18. Tyler Park's basket in the closing minute of the half, sent the Tigers into the locker room at halftime with a 20-18 advantage.
Middleton hit a three early in the third quarter to regain the lead, 21-20, before Jarek Schetzle sank two free throws to give the Tigers the lead back with 4:27 left in the third. The Vikings then went on a nine-point run to go up, 30-22, with 1:18 left in the quarter.
The Tigers got a three-pointer from Jermaine Smith for their only other points in the quarter with Mountain Home trailing, 31-25, heading into the fourth quarter. The Tigers' defense rose up in the fourth, holding Middleton to just three free throws in the quarter and tied the game at 34 with 2:44 left in the game.
From there, neither team was able to score, and Christen Riedel's rebound gave Mountain Home the ball with less than 30 seconds left. Jermaine Smith took some time off the clock then drove toward the basket. When Riedel's man left him to help out on the inside, Smith passed to Riedel, and the six-foot, one-inch senior drained the trey from the corner with 4.6 seconds left, putting the Tigers up, 37-34.
Middleton called a time out, and once they got the ball in, their player was fouled with 2.3 seconds left. The free throw was missed, and Christen Riedel came down with the rebound with Tigers remaining unbeaten in conference at home.
"We knew it would be an epic battle," said Tigers basketball coach Brion Bethel. "Those guys play great defense, and we knew it was going to be a close game the whole way. We're just glad we had the right guys in to make the shots when we needed them."
Tyler Park led the Tigers' scoring with 11 points, all in the first half. Jarek Schetze added eight points and Jermaine Smith finished with five. Marcus Egusquiza, Garrett McKenzie and Christen Riedel each scored three points while AJ Woodruff and Jymon Garretson both scored two.
The Tigers shot 39 percent from the field, including three of 13 three-balls while converting six of 11 free throws.
In comparison, Middleton shot just 23 percent from the field, hitting six of 14 three pointers. They also went to the free throw line 11 times and made six for 55 percent.
Kuna 69, Mountain Home 48
The conference crown and a first-round district tournament bye was on the line Friday night at Kuna as the Tigers faced the Kavemen. On-target percent shooting by Kuna in the fourth quarter helped the Kavemen pull away from the Tigers for a 69-48 conference win.
The first half saw six lead changes and six ties with the score tied at 15 after a quarter. Mountain Home battled back from a six-point deficit to take a 34-32 lead into the second half on Marcus Egusquiza's three-pointer at the buzzer.
Kuna, who shot 45 percent from the field in the first half, improved to 65 percent in the second, including a blazing 78 percent in the fourth quarter to outscore the Tigers.
After Mountain Home lost the lead early in the third quarter, the best they could do was come within one on a couple of times and trailed, 47-42, heading into the fourth.
Kuna hit a basket to go up 49-42 to start the fourth quarter. Jymon Garretson hit a four-point play off a three-pointer and a free throw to cut the deficit to 49-46 with 4:55 left in the game. Mountain Home fans, who were out in full force with most of them in Black Out shirts, were hoping that would ignite a Tiger rally.
Kuna then went on a 16-0 run before Mountain Home would score again off two free throws by AJ Woodruff with 1:17 left -- their only other points of the night.
"Kuna played a great second half and really shot the ball well," Coach Bethel said. "We didn't do a very good job of taking care of the ball and gave up a few easy buckets that gave them too much momentum to overcome."
Despite the loss, the coach had nothing but praise for the fan support that showed up for the game.
"That was fantastic! Unbelievable," he said.
Jymon Garretson and Jarek Schetzle led Mountain Home in scoring at Kuna with Garretson finishing the game with 16 and Schetzle adding 13. AJ Woodruff scored six points, Marcus Egusquiza and Christen Riedel both dropped in three. Garrett McKenzie, Tyler Park and Brion Bethel Jr. each scored two while Jermaine Smith had one point.
Mountain Home shot 38 percent from the field, hitting five of 18 three pointers. The team also hit seven of its 11 free throws. Kuna ended the night shooting 55 percent from the field, including six of 11 treys. They converted 17 of 20 free throws.
Kuna controlled the boards, 27-16. Jarek Schetzle led the Tigers with six rebounds.
Mountain Home ended the regular season 15-6 overall and 6-4 in conference, which gave them the number three seed heading into the District II4A tourney. The Tigers will open at home Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the six-seed Caldwell Cougars.
It is scheduled to be an Orange Out Night with Tiger fans encouraged to wear orange. The Caldwell-Moutain Home winner will face Bishop Kelly on Monday at Bishop Kelly in the semi-finals.