NAMPA, Idaho – Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, the top two ranked teams in Idaho, both won handily in their first-round games to remain on a collision course for the state championship matchup at the girls 5A state basketball tournament Thursday at the Idaho Center.
Post Falls (22-1) won the day’s opening game by cruising past Mountain View, 50-28, and will play third-ranked Highland (20-2) in the semifinal game Friday at 5:15 p.m. (PST).
CdA (20-5) fended off pesky fourth-ranked Rocky Mountain in the day’s final game, 55-36, and will play Capital (17-7) at 7 p.m.
Post Falls 50, Mountain View 28: Post Falls senior post Dani Failor turned in a career-high performance rebounding with 17 to go along with her game-high 19 points in leading the Trojans to victory.
Failor, who will play Division I basketball at West Point next season, said she plans to pursue a career path in pediatrics or intelligence.
Thursday afternoon she had little trouble diagnosing Mountain View’s defense and translating it into points. But she is far from satisfied.
“We knew coming here it was going to be a three-step process to accomplish our ultimate goal this season,” Failor said. “So this victory was just step one.”
Post Falls, which entered the state tournament ranked No. 1, wasted little time in assuring a victory as the Trojans – sparked by five points from Failor – opened the game on an 11-0 run.
“I was happy with our start,” Post Falls coach Marc Allert said. “I was a little surprised that we were able to start like that.”
“This is all our first time at state, and any time you can start like that, it calms your nerves right away,” Failor added.
Mountain View battled back behind freshman Destiny Slocum to pull within 16-8 late in the first quarter, but the Mavericks could not escape Post Falls’ smothering defense.
Post Falls muddled through a sloppy second quarter but still stymied Mountain View’s offense, taking a 31-12 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Trojans turned the pressure up on defense and didn’t allow a field goal as they built a 39-15 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Hallie Gennett and Litalien added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Post Falls.
Slocum scored 19 points to lead Mountain View, which was held to 17.8 percent shooting from the field, including 0-for-11 on 3-point attempts.
CdA 55, Rocky Mountain 36: Buoyed by the return of Kendalyn Braindard to the starting lineup, CdA muscled its way past Rocky Mountain in a physical game.
CdA used every bit of leverage it had to secure the win, including countering a significant height difference with a speedy lineup and utilizing a strong performance from the free-throw line.
“We knew Rocky Mountain was a good rebounding team,” CdA junior forward Sydney Williams said. “So we had to use our speed to beat them to the rebound. We also boxed out really well, and that helped us get an advantage there.”
The Vikings finished with a 32-29 edge in rebounding over Rocky Mountain, which starts four players 6 feet or taller.
Leading 15-11 after a tight first quarter, CdA converted 11 consecutive free throws to build a 28-17 halftime lead.
CdA, which finished 24 of 31 shooting from the line, also got a boost with the return of Brainard, who had been nursing a sprained ankle and foot. She finished with eight points, three rebounds and two assists.
“It was great having Kendalyn back,” said Williams, who finished with 11 points and four rebounds. “The girls who filled in for her did a great job, but Kendalyn really makes our offense flow well. And it’s nice to run the high-low with someone you have some chemistry with on the floor.”
Williams and Brainard ran the high-low to perfection in the third quarter to help the Viks all but put the game away, outscoring Rocky Mountain 16-7 to take a 44-24 lead into the final frame.
Caelyn Orlandi led CdA in scoring with 13 points and five assists, while Madi Kelly scored 13 to lead Rocky Mountain.
Bishop Kelly 51, Moscow 26: The Knights defeated the Bears (7-12) in a first-round matchup in Meridian, sending Moscow to a loser-out game against Burley at 2 p.m. Chloe Quinnett led Moscow with seven points.
Parma 41, Bonners Ferry 40: Desi Minor scored 12 points to lead the Badgers (16-6) as their late comeback attempt came up just short against the Panthers in a first-round game at Skyview HS in Nampa.
BF will now face Priest River today in a loser-out game at 12:15 p.m.
Snake River 43, Priest River 30: Steffie Pavey scored a team-high 10 points as the Spartans (16-9) couldn’t overcome a midgame drought against the Panthers at Skyview HS.
Dietrich 70, Kootenai 20: Katey Mae McInturff’s 10 points paced the Warriors (4-16) in a first-round loss to the Blue Devils at Nampa HS.
Kootenai faces Tri-Valley today in a 12:15 p.m. loser-out game.