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Bonners Ferry Delivers In Big Moments
Bateman's clutch shot turns momentum, delivers Bonners Ferry's first boys basketball title
Published: 3/2/2024 9:43:48 PM


NAMPA — After Bonners Ferry watched its 11-point lead slip away with just over three minutes remaining, its hopes of winning the school's first boys basketball state title seemed to be slipping away with it.

But Thomas Bateman took hold of the ball and the game—and made sure his team went home with the trophy.

Bateman drained a 3-pointer with 2:30 left to give Bonner’s Ferry the lead again—and the lead for good as the Badgers scored 12 of the game’s final 14 points and rallied for a 54-47 victory in the Class 3A state championship game Saturday afternoon.

Whenever I’m open for a 3, I don’t like to pass it up,” Bateman said. “But that was a big moment for us. I liked that shot and it was good.”

Bonners Ferry (22-3), which lost to Sugar-Salem a year ago in the final, had to battle most of the night after leading-scorer and returning 3A player of the year Asher Williams got into early foul trouble.

We just had other teammates step up,” Williams said. “And then Thomas hit a big three and then the other players just kept getting good shots on the other end and getting to the free throw line.”

Teton (18-8), the fifth seed in the tournament, upset top-seeded Snake River to advance to the title game on Friday. But after the Timberwolves’ big rally to claw their way back into the game against Bonners Ferry, the team tired out down the stretch.

I think we just ran out of gas,” Teton coach Rob Heuseveldt said. “I think the boys gave a tremendous effort to fight back into the game. But give credit where credit is due. Bonners Ferry took care of business and hit some critical shots at the end to put it on ice.”

Teton had all the momentum late after taking its first lead of the game at 39-38 with 6:20 remaining on a bucket by Tyson Brown.

The lead switched hands three more times before Eli Blackmore hit a key 3-pointer with 4:17 left to put Teton ahead 45-42.

That was the last basket the Timberwolves would make until the waning seconds after the outcome had been well decided.

Brody Rice scored six points and Williams added two buckets in the run along with Bateman’s momentum-changing 3-pointer in the 12-2 run to close out the game.

The win was more impressive given that Williams, who averages 29 points per game, spent nearly two quarters’ worth of the game on the bench.

It was breaking my heart as a dad to see him in foul trouble,” said Nathan Williams, Bonners Ferry’s coach and Asher Williams’ father. “You’re always wearing two hats as a coach and a dad, but I know Asher has worked his butt off to get to this point and to watch him pick up two quick fouls was tough.

Then I put him back and told him not to get any more fouls. He told me, ‘Yes, dad.’ And three minutes later, he gets another foul. But everyone on this team is so unselfish. When he went out, everyone had to step up and the boys did a great job.”

Williams, the Player of the Game, still led the team in scoring with 15 points, well below his average. But Rice scored 11 and Bateman added nine to go along with seven rebounds in the win.

Teton was led by Brown with a game-high 27 points, while Kaiden Hastings added 13.













Bonners Ferry






TETON (18-8) – Ty Brown 27, Kaiden Hastings 13, Thomas Heuseveldt 4, Jack Nelson 3, Burke Nelson 0, Kenton Murdock 0 Jake Streit 0, Jeremy Kaufman 0

BONNERS FERRY (22-3) – Asher Williams 15, Brody Rice 11, Thomas Bateman 9, Trey Bateman 6, Wyatt Smith 5, Eli Blackmore 4, Peyton Hinthorn 4

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