An eight-year drought for the Lake City boys basketball team ended Tuesday.
No. 3-seeded Lake City upset top-seeded Post Falls 51-46 in the 5A Region I championship game before an estimated crowd of 1,400 at The Arena.
The Timberwolves (13-9) advance to state for the first time since 2002 – in the next-to-last year of current coach Jim Winger’s first term. State is March 4-6 at the Idaho Center in Nampa.
Post Falls (18-4) plays host to No. 2 Coeur d’Alene (15-7) on Friday night to decide a second state berth. CdA topped Lewiston 58-48 in a loser-out game.
Lake City 51, Post Falls 46: The Timberwolves controlled the tempo, leading the whole game.
LC built a 32-20 lead midway in the third quarter, but the Trojans slowly pecked away at the margin. They pulled within 37-31 by period’s end.
Post Falls took advantage of a stretch of five LC turnovers and an intentional foul, closing within 37-35 with 2:55 remaining. An LC player was called for intentionally fouling sophomore guard Marcus Colbert, who was breaking away for a layup. Colbert made the two foul shots and the Trojans retained possession with an opportunity to tie.
But the Trojans’ two ensuing shots went awry – like most for PF’s top four scorers. Colbert, Shawn Reid, Malcolm Colbert and Connor Hill were a combined 9 of 46 from the field (20 percent).
The T-Wolves righted themselves, making 10 of 15 free throws in the final 1:22.
“It was just guts,” said LC junior wing Mark Smyly, who had a team-high 16 points and six rebounds. “We stepped up. We played to win and didn’t play to lose. It would have been easy to crumble at that point.”
Winger was more than a little tense when the Trojans wiped away most of the lead.
“That’s why I’m so proud of them,” Winger said of his team’s late composure. “I thought the tide had turned a bit and I was worried. On the road, in this atmosphere, that was big time closure of the game there.”
Post Falls coach Mike McLean bemoaned his team’s shooting.
“Not much to say when you shoot like that,” McLean said.
Coeur d’Alene 58, Lewiston 48: With the score tied after three quarters, the Vikings outscored the Bengals (10-11) 18-8 in the final period.
Connor White led CdA with 19 points and Jake Matheson added 11.
4A Region I
Moscow 51, Lakeland 34: Mac Stannard scored 23 points as the Bears (16-6) earned a state berth in the title game at Moscow.
Joel Underdahl led Lakeland (14-10) with 21 points.
3A District I-II
Bonners Ferry 66, Timberlake 44: The Badgers rolled from the outset, opening a 39-19 lead by halftime in a loser-out game Rathdrum.
Justin Everhart led BF (7-12) with 15 points. The fourth-seeded Badgers meet No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Priest River (17-3) tonight at 7:30.
Kellogg 72, Orofino 34: The Wildcats held the Maniacs to single digits in the first three quarters in a loser-out game at Rathdrum.
Ethan Wendt led Kellogg with 18 points and Cody Lewis had 16. No. 3-seeded Kellogg (12-9) faces No. 2 St. Maries (9-7) tonight at 6.
2A District I-II
Coeur d’Alene Charter 59, Grangeville 52: Wes Billingslea had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Panthers survived a loser-out game at Lewiston.
Charter (14-9) meets Kamiah on Thursday at Lewiston to decide a state berth.
1A Division II
Mullan 44, Clark Fork 43: Casey McKinnon and Trevor Henderson blocked a Wampus Cat (0-18) shot as time expired as the Tigers prevailed at home.
Mullan (7-9) goes to Kootenai (11-9) on Friday to decide a state berth. Justin Scheel led Mullan with 16 points.