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Amari Whiting didn’t forget when the Middleton student section chanted, “Over-rated” in the first half.

So when the Burley High School sophomore sensation drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, she turned and blew them a kiss. It ended up being a kiss goodbye as Whiting sent the top-ranked Vikings packing early with a state-tournament record 37 points in a 57-48 win in the first round of the Idaho 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament Thursday evening at Mountain View High School.

Burley (18-5) will take on Blackfoot (20-7) at 7 p.m. Friday at Mountain View High School.

“I had to let them know,” Whiting said while laughing.

The chants of “Over-rated” seemed a bit odd. Whiting, an All-Great Basin and All-State first-team selection from last season, had 11 points on 4 of 9 shooting (44%) in a back-and-forth first half that featured five ties. The third quarter was also really competitive with two more ties and lead changes with no team leading by more than four points.

It was to be expected from a game that most pundits thought could be a state championship matchup.

“We’ve played Century, Preston, Coeur d’Alene, so I feel like my girls were ready for that challenge,” Burley coach Amber Whiting said. “We get in those big games and we don’t shoot great, but they rose up to it tonight and found their identity in the process.”

Her daughter Amari certainly helped with that. She equaled her halftime total with 11 in the third, including scoring her team’s first eight points of the quarter, and capped it off with the three at the buzzer that gave Burley a 37-33 lead and quieted down the Viking student section going into the final period.

“She’s got a lot of her dad in her,” Amber Whiting said while laughing. “If you ever look him up in Italy, he was all about that kind of stuff. And he backed it up. But I never did that kind of thing when I played, so humble and hungry is what I try and teach her.”

The Vikings (17-3) desperately tried to keep pace. They kept themselves within three points for most of the quarter. However, there was no stopping Whiting. She was responsible for 15 of the Bobcats’ 20 fourth-quarter points. The dagger came when Whiting made Payton Hymas, who had a team-high 13 points for Middleton, fall on the ground on a crossover before stepping back and burying another 3 to put Burley up six at 50-44 with under two minutes remaining.

Whiting broke the state tournament record of Rigby’s All Furness, who set it in 2012, on a free throw with 17.2 seconds left in regulation.

“Kudos to her, she’s an amazing player,” senior Kelsie Pope said. “She’s been working hard and she deserves this. I love when she can just go out and play her game.”

Pope also reached double figures in scoring for Burley, which is back in the semis for the first time since 2018.

“We’re definitely happy, but once our heads hit the bed tonight, we’ll only have one question in our head and that’s, ‘Who’s next?,’” Amari Whiting said.