By C. COLT CRANE
BURLEY – The Burley Bobcats faced off against the Wolverines of Wood River Tuesday night during their 4A District Tournament match-up. The Bobcats defeated the Wolverines 60-29.
The night did not go well for the 6th seeded Wolverines. Limping out of the gate at tip-off, the Wolverines struggled to contend against the 3rd seeded Bobcats. By the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines had already given up eight turn overs. The scoreboard climbed graciously for Burley as the Bobcats took quick advantage of the Wolverines’ plight.
At the end of the opening quarter, the score was 18-2 in Burley’s favor with Wood River scoring their only two points for the quarter from the free-throw line.
The Wolverines attempted to rally back against the Bobcats during the second quarter, but the Bobcats’ early lead continued to be antagonize Wood River. The second quarter ended similarly for the Wolverines, trailing the Bobcats by 16 points going into half-time.
After the half, Burley continued to capitalize on the Wolverines’ weaknesses and increased the point differential to a 25 point gap by the time the third quarter buzzer sounded. The Bobcats took the third quarter 45-20 against Wood River.
The final quarter of the game saw no form of competition from the Wood River bench. Substituting the Junior Varsity team into the game to contend with the Bobcats, the Wolverines seemed to have given up during the final minutes of the District Tournament match-up. The Bobcats soundly defeated the Wolverines 60-29 at the end of regulation time, devastating the Wood River contenders for the majority of the game.
“We struggled at the free-throw line and we struggled around the basket,” said Burley Head Coach Jack Bagley of his team’s performance, “But our effort was good and our defense was really good. We held them to single digits for three out of the four quarters. I’m proud of their effort defensively.”
Burley’s defense was the determining factor in their victory over Wood River. With so many turnovers for the Wolverines, Burley was able to exploit Wood River’s folly to their advantage.
“We like to put a lot of pressure on them,” said Bagley, “We try to deny their wings and make it hard for them to get into their offence and we were pretty successful with that. Their turnovers led to easy shots for us.”
Coach Bagley commented on the Bobcats’ poor free-throw average and the need to focus on increasing those numbers in order to contend throughout the rest of the tournament.
“We shot under 50% from the free-throw line and that’s something we’ve got to improve on,” Bagley said, “For games in the future, we’re not going to beat anybody shooting that percentage so we’ve got to do a lot better job there.”
Brandon Hosteen of Burley was the high scorer for the Bobcats, scoring 15 points on the Bobcat hardwood.
The Bobcats will face the 2nd seeded Jerome Tigers on Thursday, February 16 at Jerome.