It would be hypercritical to say that because neither Lake City nor Coeur d’Alene reached 40 points Friday that the boys basketball game was short of entertaining.
That would be far from the truth. Both teams played locked-down defense in their own styles, and in the end Lake City’s was a smidge better.
Coeur d’Alene’s left-handed driving shot in the waning seconds fell short and the Timberwolves’ jolly long-armed giant, sophomore 6-foot-6 Kyle Guice, ripped down the most important of his game-high 13 rebounds as LC held off the second-ranked Vikings 38-36 before an estimated crowd of 1,500 at LC.
The win boosted LC (9-6 overall, 3-1 league) into a first-place tie with CdA (11-4, 3-1), snapping the Vikings’ seven-game winning streak.
Guice had no doubts he was going to grab the final missed shots.
“I knew it was mine,” said Guice, who had a team-high 10 points with 12 rebounds in the second half. “No one was going to get it from me.”
LC coach Jim Winger told Guice at halftime he had just one rebound and needed him in double digits.
“I thought he was outstanding in the second half,” Winger said. “He made some great moves. Something in the game got him mad … because when he gets mad he plays big. He played huge.”
The game was tight throughout. Late in the third quarter, CdA’s Jared Moore hit a 3-pointer to give the Viks their biggest lead at 27-23.
LC pulled within 27-25 when Mitch Bevacqua hit a leaning 9-footer at the quarter’s buzzer.
Moore made both ends of a one-and-one situation to give CdA its last lead at 32-31 with 5:23 to play.
Off of a nice inbounds play, Luke Ness hit a 3-pointer to give the T-Wolves the lead for good at 34-32 with 3:08 to go.
Moments later, Guice took a nice entry pass from Riley Moreen, and Guice spun loose for a basket to give LC a 36-33 lead at the 2:13 mark.
Guice put the T-Wolves up 38-34 with 16 seconds to go when he hit the first foul shot of a bonus. CdA’s Devin Loy hit a 17-footer with a hand in his face to cut the lead to the final margin with 9 seconds left.
Moreen had a chance to clinch when CdA had to foul, but he missed the first shot of a bonus leading to Watson’s driving attempt as time expired.
“We needed to come into this game and play a lot harder,” Guice said in reference to CdA’s 55-31 blowout win against LC in early January.
Guice said the key in the fourth quarter was rebounding.
“We didn’t let them get second possessions,” Guice said.
Winger hopes his young team is beginning to believe.
“I’ve been harping on them since Day One that everybody tells ‘you you’re the new kinds on the block and you’re all young, we only have two seniors. That doesn’t mean you can’t win and you can’t compete’,” Winger said.
Because of a weather postponement last week, it was LC’s first game in two weeks.
“I’m pretty impressed with the guys to come out and beat (their) rival after not playing for two weeks,” Winger said. “I’m really pleased with our defense.”
CdA coach Kent Leiss said his team needs to find a way to play better against LC’s zones.
“Teams don’t want to get out and run and I don’t blame them,” Leiss said. “So we’re going to have to learn to either speed the game up or play better at that tempo.”
Moore led CdA with 10 points.
Coeur d’Alene 36, Lake City 24: The No. 1-ranked Vikings had to survive one of the ugliest games of the year, but in so doing they clinched no worse than a tie for first in the 5A Inland Empire League.
The Vikings (16-2, 5-1) outscored the Timberwolves (10-9, 0-5) 17-8 in the second half to pull away.
Caelyn Orlandi led CdA with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists. Kendalyn Brainard added 10 points and six rebounds.
LC had no player in double-figure scoring but Jansen Butler and Amber Hawkes each had six rebounds.