POCATELLO — In a contest that likely set the record for quietest in the history of the Poky-Highland rivalry, the Pocatello Indians rode a momentum wave from a dominant second quarter all the way to a 52-41 win over the Highland Rams on Thursday night at the Pit in Pocatello.
With the crowd being restricted to just two guests per player due to Governor Little’s COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, both teams nonetheless started with the same energy as if they were in front of a packed house. The energy didn’t immediately translate to points for either squad, as the Indians led 7-6 after a first quarter filled with turnovers and missed shots.
In the second quarter, the game turned into the Ryan Payne and Julian Bowie show. Payne scored 10 of his 15 points in the quarter and, along with Bowie, led the Indians on a 11-0 run just before halftime to take a comfortable 27-13 advantage at the break.
Bowie shouldered most of the load in the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 22 points in the third and fourth quarters. The freshman showed a dynamic blend of long-range shooting and ability to get to the rim seemingly at will, including a dazzling euro-step layup in transition that brought the small but boisterous crowd of Poky faithful to their feet.
The Rams had early trouble breaking the zone defense of Pocatello. Following a pep talk from head coach Ty Pearson that emphasized making quicker decisions and looking for skip passes to break the zone, the Rams just couldn’t get shots to fall. The proverbial lid was on the rim for Highland for the bulk of the game.
Pocatello head coach Joe Green was proud of how his young team competed with a physical Rams squad.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game, and I thought our guys responded well to the physicality,” Green said. “I thought Brevin Vaughan, one of our few seniors, played hard on both ends of the floor and set the tone.”
The win over Highland moves Green’s Indians to 8-2 on the season, while the loss drops Pearson’s Rams to 1-6. Poky will be back in action Wednesday for a home game against Canyon Ridge. Highland will have a single day of rest before hosting Box Elder, Utah, on Saturday.
POCATELLO 52, HIGHLAND 41
Highland 6 7 13 15 – 41
Pocatello 7 20 10 15 – 52
Highland -- Mickelsen 10, Moon 8, Anderson 7, Durham 5, Kelley 5, Wheelock 4, Roberts 2.
Pocatello – Bowie 22, Payne 15, Vaughan 8, Williams 6, Gibson 1.