Timberline faced an upset threat Friday. Then a sophomore took over the second half

Idaho Statesman

The Timberline High boys basketball team saw its deficit swell to seven points with 3:17 left in the first half Friday.

But after a Timberline timeout, no one on the Wolves’ bench felt any pressure. Not even sophomore guard Alex Ko, who was shooting 1-for-8 from the field.

That mindset fueled Ko, who scored 21 points, including 17 in the second half, to lead Timberline to a 58-50 home win over Boise.

“I think it was all about poise,” Ko said. “It was about being calm and not letting the pressure come to us. Instead, we wanted it to come to them.”

Ko dropped seven points in two minutes to cut the deficit to one with 1:37 left in the half. And a 3-pointer by Timberline (12-5, 6-2 5A SIC) senior Blake Kiesau put Timberline ahead 28-26 going into halftime.

The surge continued in the second half as two Ko baskets in the paint pushed the lead to 35-26 with 3:28 left in the third quarter.

“He can shoot it and finish in strange, awkward ways around the basket,” Timberline coach Travis Noble said. “He loves to compete, and he’s put in a ton of time to get to where he is as a sophomore. He’s just a skilled basketball player.”

Boise used 3-pointers from Jakob Thompson and Michael Nance to jump out to a 17-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. And a Nance putback extended the Brave’s lead to seven, their largest of the night.

But the Brave struggled to regain their rhythm in the second half, shooting 0-for-11 from deep and 8-for-24 (33.3%) from the field. Jakob Thompson and Jude Porter both scored 12 points to lead Boise (7-9, 2-6).

“We had to talk about some stuff at the timeout,” Noble said. “(Boise) had sped us up, making us play a little bit faster than we wanted to. But once we got that figured out and got our guys settled down, it got a lot better for us.”

Timberline’s Jachin Mertes added 11 points, while AJ LaBeau notched 10 points and seven rebounds.

The second-half rally gave Timberline its fourth straight win and its eighth in the last 10 games. The Wolves’ sit third in the 5A SIC standings, possibly putting them in position for their first state tournament appearance since 2020.

“This group is very hungry,” Noble said. “We try to keep (state) in the back of our mind, but I know they want it.”