It’s hard to tell where the top is for Joseph basketball as both the boys and girls steamrolled their way to convincing victories with wins over Jordan Valley and Class 2A Union.
The Eagles boys traveled to Jordan Valley and beat the Mustangs 58-46 behind sophomore Mason Ferre’s 19-point performance. Ferre, who had come back after a three-game injury layoff, started slow but nailed a trio of three-pointers in the third quarter.
Coach Olan Fulfer said that the team started out slow with the Eagles behind 13-7 at the end of the first quarter due to missed easy shots and free throws, and was down one at the half before exploding for 24 points in the third quarter and sailing away with the victory.
Behind Ferre, Chase Murray had 11 points while Kade Kilgore nailed 10, including two shots from behind the arc in crucial moments.
“We didn’t play well but got pretty good wins,” Fulfer said. “Our next two weeks are crazy and we have lots of tough competition.”
The following day’s contest against Union also proved difficult for the Eagles, although they ultimately prevailed 63-47.
The Union Bobcats felt the sting of the Eagles as they went down on their home court. While the score looks like a convincing victory, Fulfer said the Eagles played sloppy ball in the first half but jelled in the second and finished particularly strong in the fourth quarter for the win.
“We’ve been explosive in some quarters and not so much in others,” Fulfer said. “We’re capable of 18 points per quarter, but even 15 would give us the consistency we’re looking for.
Chase Murray led the scoring with 18 points, including two three-pointers. Tyler Homan had 17 points while Ferre chipped in 12.
Fulfer said that the Union defense keyed in on Ferre, which left numerous open lanes for Murray and Homan. The coach added that because of the strong defense, other teams generally score on the Eagles due to fouls and turnovers.
The coach said that poor free throw shooting hampered team efforts with the Eagles going 14-30 at the line. Although not in the upper brackets point-wise, Homan said players Trey Wandschneider and Hadley Miller more than pulled their weight with their excellent defense and powerful rebounding.
“They work hard and deserve recognition,” he said.
The wins brought the Eagles season record to 5-2 while ranked 10th in the state. The boys next play Enterprise at Quinn Court on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The Eagles girls have yet to settle to earth with their week’s wins over Jordan Valley and Union as well. Coach Lance Homan noted that other coaches had chosen Jordan Valley as one of the state’s top teams although the Eagles apparently didn’t get the memo as they prevailed 51-47 over the Mustangs.
Homan said that Madelyn Nelson and Camille Crenshaw both got into early foul trouble, which initially spelt trouble for the Eagles. However, bench depth in the person of Ella Coughlan came in and provided a defensive spark for the Eagles.
The girls fought hard and pulled out the victory down the stretch. Nelson and sophomore Sabrina Albee went 4 for 4 in the fourth quarter with their free throws, which helped seal the game for the Eagles. Albee, Hite and Nelson all rang the bell in double-digit scoring efforts. Albee sank 18 points followed by 11 each from Hite and Nelson.
Homan said the Mustangs were well-coached and experienced.
“We knew we had to play well in order to come out on top,” he said. “I didn’t think we shot the ball that well, but we shot it well enough to come away with a win. I am extremely proud of this team.”
The Eagles next came up against the Union Bobcats, who Homan said were young and athletic. The Bobcats had barely lost to the Eagles’ arch-enemy, Powder Valley, the day before.
“We knew they were going to be tough,” Homan said.
The girls came out and played well in the first half, although foul trouble immediately ensued. However, the Eagles battled and despite the Bobcats catching fire and cutting the lead to one in the third quarter, the girls responded with tough defense to get the squad back into the lead.
According to Homan, Albee and post Haley Miller played off each other very well and came away with 16 and 10 points respectively. Coughlan again provided the squad with a defensive spark as did Emma Hite. Miller also hauled in a number of boards down the stretch.
“This was a good win and a win that really tested us mentally and physically,” Homan said.
The win left the girls 6-1 one on the season and ranked sixth in the state. They next play at home against Echo on Saturday, Dec. 22.