4A DISTRICT 6 TOURNAMENT
BLACKFOOT 3, HILLCREST 1
For the first time since 2017, Blackfoot is headed to state. The Broncos knocked off Hillcrest 3-1 to capture the 4A Conference 6 District Championship, something that, again, hasn't happened since 2017.
"It's huge. You almost get emotional," said Blackfoot coach Liam Pope. "It was pretty tight and quite tense, as you'd expect from a district championship. It was a little bit ugly at times. I'd say neither of us played as well as we can, but you expect that in championship games."
Blackfoot jumped out to an early lead on a goal from Misa Reyna, a lead that Pope thought was going to be vanquished before halftime. Just before the first 20 minutes concluded, Hillcrest was awarded a penalty kick.
Pope was sure the equalizer was coming, that Hillcrest was going to have all the momentum in the second half and a real advantage with the wind at their backs in the final frame. Then goalie Gavin Cornell made the save.
"That was crucial," Pope said.
It was. And thanks to second-half goals by Frankie Garcia and Dominic Sanchez, it was enough for the Broncos' seniors to earn their first state bid since freshman year.
"I think we knew coming into this year -- I have quite a few senior starters -- this was the year. This had to be the year," Pope said. "This year, day one, we always talked about district championship. Anything less than a district championship would have been a failure."
Blackfoot (14-1, 10-0) begins its state journey next Thursday against the runner-up from District 3. That game will be played at Bonneville High at 3 p.m.
WEST JEFFERSON 3, AMERICAN FALLS 1
In its final regular season game of the season, American Falls dropped a road, non-conference match to West Jefferson: 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18.
"The main thing is when we kept our serve and played scrappy on defense, we played really well," American Falls' coach Jami Adair said. "That's why we won the third set. That was the only set we could keep our serve in and our defense played great.
"I told our team, 'I think this might be the best thing for us before districts. We know we can't be complacent.'"
For the Beavers, Emma Barclay notched 11 kills. Paige Adair had 10 with only a pair of errors. And setter Zoie Grigg tallied 31 assists.
American Falls (13-3, 4-0) heads to the 3A South East Idaho Conference Tournament next. As the No. 1 seed, the Beavers will host and play the winner of Snake River and Marsh Valley on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.