Kuna made the long 80-mile round trip bus trek to Mountain Home on January 25th and brought home a hard-fought 49-39 victory to improve to 5-7 in 4A Southern Idaho Conference games and to 6-10 on the season.
“We were very reserved and started slow,” said Kavemen head coach Brian Deatherage.
He wasn’ t kidding. The hosts came out charging and shortly into the first period, led 13-4 thanks largely to 5’10” senior guard Mike Daniels, who led the Tigers with 12 points.
But the Kavemen clawed back and closed the deficit to trail by only two points, 20-22, at halftime. Timely scoring by a rebounding Kuna offense gave the visitors a 35-31 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The last period was exciting and saw the score knotted at 36 thanks to accurate performances from the charity stripe by 6’4” freshman guard Jake Johnson and 5’8” junior guard Shawn Staley before the hosts took a 38-36 lead on a bucket by 5’8” senior guard Jeremy Hopper.
“It was an uphill battle,” Coach Deatherage said. Johnson nailed a free throw to pull his team to within one points, 37-38, with less than three minutes remaining. Other shots from the charity stripe and a two-pointer by Cameron Francis, who led all scorers with 21 points, and a trey by Johnson enabled the Kavemen to pull away and post a 10-point lead. Johnson and Shawn Stanley finished with nine points apiece.
The final score did not reflect the intensity and closeness of the game. “The bottom line is, our kids played with passion,” Deatherage said.
The Tigers fought hard and in the early going appeared to be poised to notch their first win of the season, but in the end they fell to 0-11 in conference games and to 0-15 overall.