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Third Time's The Charm
Pocatello, Bowie's 16-point fourth quarter vanquishes Hillcrest for 4A title, 73-67
Published: 3/3/2024 2:02:39 AM


NAMPA — When Pocatello star guard Julian Bowie landed with a thud on his back just before halftime, you could hear a pin drop in the Idaho Center. He limped into the locker room, unsure of what the second half would hold.

But Bowie returned and had the crowd roaring as he took over the game, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead Pocatello to a 73-67 victory over Hillcrest and claim the 4A boys state championship Saturday evening.

When I came back, I was like, ‘This is it—it’s my last high school game’,” Bowie said. “And I just had to do something.”

Bowie did plenty after a slow start in the first half, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. He scored 11 of the Thunder’s final 13 points on Pocatello’s way to dethroning the two-time defending state champs.

Pocatello (22-5) also vanquished Hillcrest after losing the last two 4A state title matchups to the Knights.

To see them perform the way they did—they’ve been here three times and it’s gone bad for two years,” Pocatello coach Joe Green said. “But they pulled together and they never doubted.

They knew they were going to win the state championship this year. They did all the work and I’m so proud of them.”

Hillcrest (19-7), which led 53-52 early in the fourth quarter, had no answer for Bowie.

Our kids fought hard and you can’t judge everything on this last game,” Hillcrest coach Dave Austin said. “They’ve had great careers and accomplished a lot of things, and I’m so proud of everything they’ve done.

But you have to give Pocatello credit. That’s three years in a row that we’ve battled together and fought hard with them, and every game has been a battle. And today they just came out on top.”

Battling seemed to be the major theme of the game. And it was fitting given how closely the two teams matched up.

In the first half, Pocatello struggled to find an answer for Isaac Davis in the post, but still managed to take a 37-32 lead into intermission. However, Hillcrest’s joy was somewhat muted by the potential injury to Bowie.

Davis and Ike Sutton have played on travel teams with Bowie and were visibly shaken by the Pocatello’s star possible injury.

I went up for a block and Isaac pump faked and I fell down,” Bowie said. “I had a shooting pain up my leg for about ten seconds and then it settled down. I don’t know what the actual injury was but … I just had to battle through it.”

Davis, a BYU signee, had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half. And the third quarter was much of the same, as Davis ignited the Knights’ offense, opening the second half on a 7-0 run to retake the lead at 39-37.

Neither team could gain any momentum in the third quarter, one Davis finished with nine points.

While Bowie struggled in his return to the court, Drey Contreras picked up the slack, scoring all 12 of Pocatello’s points, including a pair of 3-pointers and sent the game tied at 49 heading into the fourth quarter.

After Kesler Vaughn nailed a 3-pointer go help Pocatello retake the lead at 52-49 in the opening moments, Hillcrest scratched its way back with a couple of buckets to surge ahead 53-52 with 6:50 remaining.

Then Bowie took over.

The Boise State signee, who was also named the Player of the Game, nailed a 3-pointer to start his scoring barrage, giving Pocatello a 55-53 lead and one the Thunder would never relinquish. He finished the quarter 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 9 of 9 from the charity stripe.

He’s unreal,” said Vaughn, who finished with 18 points and four rebounds, of the Thunder’s star guard. “He brings our entire team together no matter what. He’s our guy who goes when we have scoring droughts. He’s the guy to get us going.”

With Bowie heating up and Pocatello’s defense clamping down, Hillcrest got away from its inside game with Davis, but couldn’t find the bottom of the basket from the outside. And before the Knights knew it, they were down by nine and didn’t have a way back into the game.

Contreras led Pocatello with 22 points and seven rebounds.

Hillcrest was led by Davis with game-highs in both points and rebounds with 23 and 13, respectively. Sutton added 18 points, while Talan Taylor added 13.




















HILLCREST (19-7) - Isaac Davis 23, Ike Sutton 18, Talan Taylor 13, Gavin Helpworth 7, Titan Larsen 6, Matthew Trenkle 0, Mason Saunders 0, Ben Morris 0

POCATELLO (22-5) - Drey Conterras 22, Julian Bowie 20, Kesler Vaughan 18, Parker Smith 9, Gage Ontiveros 4, Hunter May 0, Isaiah Leonard 0

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