MERIDIAN, Idaho – It took the team that’s frequently been to state a while to put away the team that hadn’t been there in some time Thursday.
In the end, Lakeland, which is making its 10th consecutive trip to state, held off Nampa, which was attending state for the first time in seven years.
For the first time in three years, Lakeland won a state opener as the Hawks stopped Nampa 46-38 in the 4A state tournament at Mountain View High School.
Lakeland (16-7) will meet No. 1-ranked Bonneville (22-2) in the semifinals tonight at 5:15 p.m. PST. Bonneville had no problem with Century 53-25.
In the other semifinal, defending state champ Middleton (17-6) takes on Jerome (21-4).
In other openers, defending state champ Middleton topped Rigby 41-23 and Jerome handled Mountain Home 52-36.
Lakeland 46, Nampa 38: The teams combined to push 4A basketball back in the first half. They each were called for nine fouls in an overly physical first quarter.
The referees called 30 fouls and the teams shot a combined 40 free throws. The Bulldogs scored 16 of their 23 points from the foul line.
Hawks coach Steve Seymour was determined his team would foul less in the second half. To encourage that and to play through foul trouble, Seymour had his team play a 2-3 zone.
Lakeland used a 10-0 spurt to open a 40-30 lead early in the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Melissa Walker pulled Nampa (14-9) within 42-38 with 2:03 remaining, but the Bulldogs didn’t get any closer.
“It was nice to be in a close game,” Seymour said. “We wanted to play a little smarter in the second half. Nampa is scrappy. That’s all I heard from every coach (I talked to).”
Nampa’s glaring weakness is it lacked a guard capable of keeping up with Lakeland speedy senior Camille Reynolds.
Reynolds scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals.
Then in the second half, Reynolds dished out five assists – three to senior Ali Whitted, who had 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
“Me and Ali we have a pretty good offensive connection,” Reynolds said.
Lakeland’s other senior post, Kristyn App, had a game-high 10 rebounds as the Hawks dominated the boards (47-36).
Reynolds had no explanation for Lakeland’s ratty play in the first half.
“We were all over the place in the first half – just wild,” she said.
Lakeland is looking forward to meeting Bonneville.
“The girls are pretty excited,” Seymour said.
“They’re definitely good,” Reynolds said. “They’re similar to us. It should be a good matchup.”
The co-champions of the Intermountain League both fell in tournament openers at Skyview High School in Nampa.
Play-in qualifier Wendell knocked off District I champ Bonners Ferry 44-38, while No. 1-ranked Sugar-Salem sailed past Timberlake 50-35.
Timberlake (16-7) will take on Fruitland (18-5) in a loser-out game today at 12:15 p.m. PST.
Bonners Ferry (15-6) meets Kimberly (18-5) at 2.
Sugar-Salem 50, Timberlake 35: For a quarter, the Tigers played like it was their first trip to state. And the No. 1-ranked Diggers played like the favorite to win the state title.
The Diggers outscored Timberlake 21-2 in the first quarter.
The Tigers played the Diggers to a 25-all draw in the second half. But by then, the game was decided.
Sofia Hepworth led S-S with 15 points. Kacie Wenstrom led the Tigers with nine.
Wendell 44, Bonners Ferry 38: The Trojans built a 32-21 lead through three quarters and the Badgers couldn’t recover.
Ashley Winkelseth led BF with 11 points and six rebounds. Teammate Alicia Hedrick had 10 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Jori Fleming led Wendell with 13 points.