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Owyhee boys basketball continues run of dominance in Idaho 5A state title game

Storm handles Timberline, 57-36, and now have won two state championships in only third year of existence

NAMPA, Idaho - It takes some teams years to win state championships.

Others never have.

But the Owyhee High boys basketball program has been around for three years - and now already has two.

The Storm blew past Timberline, 57-36, in the Class 5A state title game Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center.

“I’m very spoiled,” Owyhee boys coach Andy Harrington said. “I have the best admin you could possibly imagine. Phenomenal players.

“The vision that the administration paved for me was exactly what we’re doing right now. I’m thrilled for our program and we’re gonna keep improving.”

Which is a scary thought.

Owyhee (24-3) had an average margin of victory against Idaho teams of nearly 26 points and beat all but one by double figures.

Timberline (22-5) was that one.

It kept up with the Storm in a 59-51 loss during last week’s district championship game. And the Timberwolves did so again in the early going Saturday.

They jumped out to a 6-2 first-quarter lead and ended the period deadlocked at 15-15 after Bryce Elder banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But then Owyhee took over - with its defense this time around.

It didn’t allow a single field goal for the next 14 minutes.

Timberline scored just two points in the second quarter - on free throws. And it wasn’t until a 3-pointer by Ryan Buehler at the 1-minute and 24-second mark of the third, that the Timberwolves were able to score outside of the charity stripe again.

But by then, the damage had already been done. The Storm were up 39-24 and led by as much as 22 points at 45-24 just moments later.

The Timberwolves only made 10 field goals for the entire game and shot just 26.3% from the field.

“I think that everyone gets caught up in all the flash with the amount of points we score,” Harrington said. “These three guys can make some crazy, crazy shots. But defense travels, and defense wins. And they’ve bought into that all year.”

That’s not the only thing Harrington’s group has bought into.

He had several new additions to a roster that already returned all five starters from last year this season. But a lot of them took lesser roles just to be a part of something greater.

Sophomore Logan Haustveit was an All-Southern Idaho Conference first-team guard at Mountain View last season. He hit a one-handed floater with 1.4 seconds remaining to send the Mavericks to the state semifinals for the first time in a decade.

Yet, he averaged around 17 minutes and 6.6 points per game during the three-day tournament.

“It was definitely a challenge. Something I had to adjust to,” Haustveit said. “But I just really want to win. And I know these guys want to win too. So I bought in. I think we all locked in this year.”

Junior Boden Howell was a multiple-time conference selection at South Medford High in Oregon. He shattered the school's previous single-game scoring record (41 points) held by former Duke and Detroit Pistons’ player Kyle Singler with 53 a year ago. Howell averaged nearly 21 points, 6 rebounds and three assists last season. He averaged 10 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game at state.

But Howell and Haustveit were the second and third-leading scorers Saturday with 11 and 10 pointes, respectively.

“We had guys that started every game last year that didn’t start this year,” Harrington said. “We had guys that were scoring 25, 30, 40 (points). We had guys scoring 50 last year. We had guys that were a pain in the butt for Owyhee to guard down there.

“All these guys sacrificed. It’s the most unselfish team I’ve ever coached, the best team I’ve ever coached. But 100%, these guys all bought into their roles, and the future is very bright.”

The Storm are set to bring everybody back but one player next season. This includes junior Jackson Rasmussen, who recorded a game-high 13 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. He has an NCAA Division I offer from the University of Idaho and No. 19 Washington State is interested, as well.

“We’re not done,” Howell said. “This program isn’t going anywhere.”

However, Liam Campbell is.

The two-time all-state selection, 1,000-point scorer, soon-to-be 5A player of the year, McDonald’s All-American nominee and USC signee played his last game in a Owyhee uniform. He’s been with the program from the very beginning and helped deliver a championship in its first year of existence in 2022.

“He is a very special player, on and off the court,” Harrington said. “His demeanor in the gym, his laser sharp focus, is something I’ve never seen before. The dude is just locked in all the time. He takes every rep like it’s the NBA Finals.

“When your best player and the face of your program is so easy to coach, everyone has to fall in line.”

Campbell’s final high school stat line read eight points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and seven rebounds. He also struggled in the semis against Madison a day earlier with just seven points on 18% shooting.

But the only thing that mattered to him in the end was going out on top.

“It’s really special, especially coming out with a win,” Campbell said. “It’s the hardest working team I’ve been a part of - ever. We honestly deserved it. We’re working late at night, early in the mornings. We wanted it bad. Last game for me to win it all, it feels great. I’m super excited. Super happy.”

Elder had nine points and four rebounds, while Bryce Heinz chipped in with nine boards for Timberline, which still had arguably the best season in program history. This was only the second state championship game appearance and the first in 24 years.

The 22 wins are tied with the 2002-03 team for the most in school history.

“Our guys are hurting,” Timberline coach Travis Noble said. “I told them the sun will come up tomorrow. We’ll look back at some point and this will be a very special season. There’s not very many teams playing today.”