MIDDLETON — The Middleton boys basketball team claimed its first victory of the season by handing the Vallivue Falcons their first loss, led by junior wing David Kofoed, who delivered an on-point performance in field-goal shooting, free-throw shooting, rebounding and defense.
Middleton defeated Vallivue 65-47 Saturday, with Kofoed scoring 25 points on 7-of-14 buckets, 5 of 9 from beyond the arc — he converted a buzzer-beater from three-quarters the length of the court at the half — and 6 from 7 from the stripe. He also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and stole three times on defense.
“David hit some great shots, and we were smart enough to get him the ball,” Middleton coach Dale Karst said.
The Falcons couldn't get into a rhythm early, suffering through a few steals and calls for double-dribble and traveling, allowing Middleton to take a 9-2 lead early. Vikings junior post Reece Robinette (14 points, five rebounds) was fouled on a layup and converted the free throw attempt (3 for 4 toal) for the three-point play to give Middleton a double-digit lead, 12-2.
Vallivue chipped away through the rest of the first period and into the second, aided by Amoro Lado's trey at the buzzer to close the gap to 14-10. Free throws and a Colton Yasinski (11 points) layup, set up by a steal from Lado, gave Vallivue a 15-14 lead, its only lead of the night as the Vikings responded with a 16-point run to end the half up 33-20. The run featured a couple of 3-pointers from Kofoed (including the deep throw) and one from Tyler Wilson.
The third quarter turned into a 3-point shooting contest, with Middleton winning 3-2. Kofoed and Robinette each sank one, while Chase Downs (12 points, six rebounds, 5-6 FT) added the third for the Vikes. Steele Hadlock (12 points) hit one for Vallivue — he went 3 for 6 from beyond the arc — and Nate Johnson added one.
But the Falcons couldn't close the gap, continuing to trail by double digits.
Neither team solely relied on outside shooting, as both teams played aggressively under the basket and heading to the free-throw stripe at least 20 times. The Falcons converted 13 of 22, while the Vikings shot 20 for 25 (80 percent).
“(We've got) a lot of quick guards, tough bigs [posts],” Kofoed said. “Our bigs contributed a lot tonight. They got a lot of rebounds and scored a lot of points. I wouldn't say (outside shooting) is our only game, but we shot the ball well tonight.”
Middleton (1-3), the defending 4A District III boys basketball tournament champion, scheduled a tough non-conference schedule full of 5As to start the season, losing to Centennial, Borah and Boise, and Timberline, another 5A opponent, Timberline, comes to town Thursday. The Vikes open 4A Southern Idaho Conference play Friday at Bishop Kelly.
“We've had a go of it in the schedule against the 5As,” Karst said. “We're playing to a high level. I'm very impressed and excited to see us us play so well defensively because Vallivue has some solid guards.”
Meanwhile the Falcons (2-1, 1-0 5A Southern Idaho Conference), a program in rebuilding mode under former Boise State assistant Ryan Lundgren and staff, won their first two, including a narrow, emotional victory against crosstown rival Caldwell earlier this week.
“We have some talent, but we're young,” Lundgren said, who noted a major change of culture is needed in the program, a move away from the mindset of expecting to lose when trailing in a game. Lundgren invited Air Force sergeants to put the squad through a 48-hour boot camp during summer practice, and he's seeing progress.
“Getting those two wins showed our kids that the camaraderie built at boot camp carried over,” Lundgren said.
Vallivue continues league play Tuesday at Meridian.